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April 19, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider tax legislation. The Senate will consider postal service overhaul legislation.



capitalHouse C-J-S Bill Sets Up Conflict With Senate Over Weather Satellites, Funding Levels. House Republicans on Wednesday released a draft fiscal 2013 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that would limit discretionary spending to $51.1 billion, or $800 million below what Senate Democrats outlined for the same programs the previous day. The GOP's spending bill, released in advance of a House Appropriations subcommittee markup early Thursday, hews to the tighter spending levels outlined in the fiscal 2013 budget resolution (H Con Res 112) by Republican Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Congressional Quarterly


House Appropriators Advance $32.1 Billion Energy-Water Spending Bill. A House Appropriations panel on Wednesday approved the chamber's first spending bill for fiscal 2013, endorsing a small funding boost for federal energy and water programs. The $32.1 billion draft appropriations measure, which the Energy-Water Subcommittee approved by voice vote, represents an $88 million increase above fiscal 2012 levels but falls $965 million below the Obama Administration's request. It would provide $26.3 billion for the Energy Department - a $358 million reduction from current spending and $1.8 billion less than the President's request. The measure would increase spending for nuclear security weapons activities to $7.6 billion while cutting funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to $1.5 billion. Congressional Quarterly


Alaska Delegation Tells NOAA of Overreach Concerns: Draft Environmental Impact Study is 'flawed,' 'troubling' not in NOAA's expertise. Alaska's Congressional delegation today met with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, raising concerns about a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the effects of oil and natural gas activities on the Arctic Ocean and highlighting the importance of exploration and development in the region. The DEIS addresses how noise and other possible impacts from exploration and development could affect marine mammals and fish in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  The delegation raised concerns that the final EIS could create a set of further timing and spatial restrictions beyond those already listed in the leases held by oil companies. Senator Mark Begich, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Congressman Don Young  


budgetRevenue Tussle Ices Arctic Oil Drilling Safety Upgrades. Shortly after a new report hammered Congress for not improving drilling safety two years after the nation's worst oil spill, two senators laid the blame on unnamed colleagues opposed to sharing federal offshore energy royalties with Alaska and other coastal states. Depending on the size of the oil discoveries Royal Dutch Shell and other companies hope to find in the Arctic Ocean, the revenue sharing could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually to Alaska alone. That money could be a key source of income to build docks, roads and hangars that support spill response and emergency operations in an offshore drilling frontier with little infrastructure, according to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Some of the money would also support local communities, such as the North Slope Borough, the only entity with full-time search-and-rescue operations on Alaska's northern coast. Alaska Dispatch 


oil spill in open oceanOil Spill Commission Action Report Released, Congress Gets a "D." It has been two years since BP's Deepwater Horizon accident that took the lives of 11 of its crew and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, gushing oil into the environment for 87 days. Yesterday, former members of the now dissolved commission created by President Obama in the aftermath of the disaster released a report. After the BP spill occurred, President Obama established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Off-Shore Drilling. It was this commission's job to find the cause of the accident and to recommend steps to make off-shore drilling safer. That commission released its final report in January of last year and then disbanded two months later. That report contained many recommendations focused on making off-shore energy production safer as well as improving the country's ability to respond to spills when they do occur. Alaska Native News 


NOAANOAA Proposes Removing Eastern Steller Sea Lions From Endangered Species List- Agency Seeks Public Comment. NOAA is proposing to remove the eastern Steller sea lion, currently deemed "threatened," from the list of endangered wildlife, after a status review by its biologists found the species is recovering sufficiently. "This proposal reflects the continued recovery of the eastern population of Steller sea lions and the strong conservation partnership among NOAA Fisheries, the states, the fishing industry and other stakeholders," said NOAA's Fisheries Service Alaska Regional Administrator Jim Balsiger. NOAA 


A new University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) universal app makes the Frontier Scientists web site available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The FS app is the second app for UAF, but the first UAF app to make research knowledge available to the general public. "By downloading the videos onto your iOS device through the Frontier Scientists App, it gives the freedom to watch them at your leisure, anytime, anywhere, even without an active Internet connection," said Bob Torgerson, UAF graduate student and one of the developers of the app. The best features of the app are 1) ability to download videos to iPhones, iPads and iPods 2) easy access to ask scientists questions 3) ability to locate Frontier Scientists' projects on a map. And it's free! Check it out, it's very cool! iTunes


Negative Feedback? Declining Sea Ice to Lead to Cloudier Arctic. Arctic sea ice has been declining over the past several decades as global climate has warmed. In fact, sea ice has declined more quickly than many models predicted, indicating that climate models may not be correctly representing some processes controlling sea ice. One source of uncertainty in models is feedback from cloud cover. Sea ice can affect cloud cover, as melting sea ice and increased evaporation from the ocean surface can lead to more cloud formation. In the Arctic, clouds have an overall warming effect on the surface, so greater cloudiness in this region could lead to even more sea-ice melt. Watts Up with That?

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               



Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all areas of arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in arctic science and policy are also expected. More information here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether over 2,000 arctic and antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


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Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details here. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


AGU Science Policy Conference, April 30- May 3, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts a policy conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and the Arctic. 


[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here.  


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and healthmeetinglogoindigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research. Click here


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World , October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage inuitconferencelogomuseums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, click here. 



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