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December 28, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate resumes consideration of the bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The House will reconvene on December 30th to consider pending year-end legislation. No definitive schedule has yet been announced.



Rep. Young: Budget Cuts Would be 'Crippling' to Alaska. U.S. Rep. Don Young said impending federal budget cuts will be "crippling" for Alaska. "I stayed in Washington, D.C., through the holidays to be available for any potential votes and stand ready today to act," he said. "As I have said before, sequestration will have crippling effects on Alaska. "If Congress fails to act in the coming days, Alaska's military bases and the jobs that come with it, as well as the countless federal employees, will suffer drastic cuts," he said. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


EPA Who Will Succeed Jackson as EPA Head? After four years in office, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said on Thursday that she will step down after President Obama's State of the Union address in January, inviting speculation about who will be named as her successor. Jackson's four-year tenure at the agency was busy and productive, but it also was controversial. Since Jackson was confirmed to head EPA in 2009, the agency has undertaken a number of significant and divisive measures, including setting new standards to clean up mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants, and setting new standards to limit fine particle soot in the air. EPA played a lead role in establishing new fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas standards for motor vehicles. In 2009, the agency reversed findings made under the Bush administration, declaring that climate change poses a real threat to public health and the environment. Government Executive


Jackson's Resignation Sets Stage for Fight Over EPA Role. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who spearheaded efforts to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions and became a lightning rod for criticism by Republican lawmakers, is resigning, setting the stage for a confirmation fight over her eventual successor that will become a forum for a larger debate about the agency's role. Jackson's resignation has been expected, but comes as a disappointment to environmentalists who have praised her activist approach. In a statement, Jackson said she was leaving to pursue "new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference." There has been speculation that Jackson might pursue elective office back home in New Jersey or be a candidate for the presidency of Princeton University. Congressional Quarterly


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard Finds Safety Violations on Shell Rig. Shell's Noble Discoverer drill rig has had several high-profile mishaps in 2012. Now, the Coast Guard says it found problems with the rig's on-board systems during an emergency inspection in Seward. Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow says the vessel was on the Coast Guard's radar because of a stack fire that broke out while the rig was tied up in Unalaska in November. Then the Noble Discoverer headed for Seward, where Wadlow says it had problems with its propulsion system. Those two incidents, in such close proximity, prompted the Coast Guard to send safety inspectors aboard. KTOO


Great Arctic Cyclone in Summer Was 'Unprecedented:' Study. It's known as the Great Arctic Cyclone, and when it roared out of Siberia last August, storm watchers knew it was unusual. Hurricane-like storms are very common in the Arctic, but the most powerful of them (which are still far less powerful than tropical hurricanes) tend to come in winter. It wasn't clear at the time, however, whether the August storm was truly unprecedented. Now it is. A study published in Geophysical Research Letters looks at no fewer than 19,625 Arctic storms and concludes that in terms of size, duration and several other of what the authors call "key cyclone properties," the Great Cyclone was the most extreme summer storm, and the 13th most powerful storm -- summer or winter -- since modern satellite observations began in 1979. Climate Central


Salmon Obama's Science Commitment, FDA Face Ethics Scrutiny in Wake of GMO Salmon Fiasco. Questions are emerging about the breakdown of the federal government's science integrity process in the wake of the Food & Drug Administration's long-delayed release of its approval of the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. The AquAdvantage salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies of Massachusetts-an Atlantic salmon modified with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon so it grows to maturity faster-had been winding its way through the federal approval process for 17 years. Two years ago, the FDA had said it was going to release its environmental assessment, the final document in the approval process, within weeks. It was finally and quietly posted on the FDA's website only last Friday-just hours before the long holiday weekend-and published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Forbes

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Development of a 5-Year Strategic Plan for Oil Spill Research in Canadian Arctic Waters, January 28-29, 2013. This workshop is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF), a research program which sponsors environmental and social studies pertaining petroleum exploration, development, and production activities on frontier lands. The ESRF is directed by a joint government, industry and public management board and is administered by the secretariat, which resides in the Office of Energy Research and Development, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The workshop is held in an effort to produce a 5-year strategic plan for oil spill research in Canadian Arctic marine waters.


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors. 


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics."


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include

response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

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