Arctic Update Header
January 23, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will consider a resources study act and legislation regarding electronic duck stamps. The Senate will consider a judicial nomination.




Media Reviewtodaysevents 


This Week at A Glance: January 23-27. The House and Senate will hold a joint session of Congress to receive the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday. This week, the Senate is expected to consider a judicial nomination. In the House, members are expected to consider a repeal of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program and hold an oversight hearing on a Keystone XL pipeline bill. Congressional Quarterly 


Army Chief of Staff Visits Alaska. Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno underscored Alaska's importance as one of the Army's premiere training locations during a Jan. 20 visit to U.S. Army Alaska headquarters here. Odierno's visit to Alaska was part of an Asia-Pacific theater tour, his first overseas trip as Army chief of staff. He learned about U.S. Army Alaska's, or USARAK, mission and capabilities, as well as its family- and Soldier-support programs. USARAK Commander Maj. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo highlighted the principles that guide the Army in Alaska. U.S. Army 


Norway's Arctic Attracts Record Interest. Norway's remote Arctic offshore region attracted record interest from oil companies in the latest licensing round after 181 blocks in the Barents Sea were nominated by oil firms, the Nordic country's oil ministry said on Monday. A total of 228 blocks or partial blocks were nominated by 37 oil firms, either in the Barents Sea - to the very north of Norway - or further south in the Norwegian Sea. "Some 181 blocks in the Barents Sea have been nominated, the highest-ever number," the ministry said in a statement. Reuters   


Coast Guard SealCoast Guard, Other Environmental Response Agencies to Practice Recovering Oil from Icy Water: Exercise the First of Kind for Coast Guard. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, oil spill response organizations, Enbridge Energy Partners and several other agencies are scheduled to participate in a unique exercise out of St. Ignace, Mich., Monday through Wednesday, during which several techniques for recovering spilled oil and other hazardous materials from icy waterways will be tested and evaluated. While the Coast Guard frequently trains for spill recovery throughout the country, this will be the first time the service has practiced such activities in icy water. Members of the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, based in Groton, Conn., have been studying multiple recovery options for the unique conditions prevalent during Great Lakes winters. The goal of this project will be to evaluate the effectiveness of those options by recovering small amounts of peat moss and oranges, environmentally-friendly oil surrogates, from the icy waters. The results could also be useful for future responses in the Arctic. US Coast Guard 


Tenders Opened for the Arctic Cable, supply tenders are announced for the ROTACS telecommunication project intended to connect Europe and Asia via Murmansk. ROTACS will connect Europe and Asia via the shortest possible geographical route across the Arctic, opening a new chapter in the history of global submarine telecommunications, says Polarnet, the project operator. At the first stage of the project implementation, 6 fibre pairs of an undersea 17.000 km-long cable system will link England, Japan, China and Russia through cable stations in the cities of Bude (England), Tokyo (Japan), and Russia's Murmansk, Vladivostok, and Anadyr. The estimated cost of this phase will be $860 million. At the second stage, for the price of $500 million there will be installed cable branches to connect the undersea-based trunk line with Russian telecom providers based on the shore. Stage 3 will need other $500 million to install an onshore line closing the circle of cables through the central part of Russia. The last stage will be backed up by Rosneft. Overall costs come up to $2 billion. Barents Nova 


russian flagRussia Makes Progress Cleaning Up Pollution, but Hot Spots Remain. For the first time, three so-called "hot spots" (extremely polluted areas) have been removed from a list of 42 hot spots in northwest Russia. This conclusion was reached in November, when Sweden handed over the chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council to Finland. However, 39 extremely polluted areas remain on the list of hot spots, all in the Russian Barents region. Sameradion visited two of them in the Kola Peninsula: Monchegorsk and Murmansk. Alaska Dispatch 


Alaska Northern Waters Task Force Submits Recommendations, Task force proposes key changes to Arctic policy, infrastructure, and resource development. The Alaska Northern Waters Task Force (ANWTF) released its preliminary report recommending improvements to state and federal Arctic policy yesterday. The Legislature established the task force in 2010 to address increased interest in the Arctic and elevate government and stakeholder participation in Arctic issues. "The task force worked hard to identify what Alaska needs to meet the opportunities and challenges in the rapidly changing Arctic," said Representative Reggie Joule (R-Kotzebue), the task force's chairman. "As worldwide demand for natural resources brings increased attention to the Arctic, Alaska needs to capitalize on the potential economic benefits while providing for sustainable communities and the environment." Sit News 


defense spendingMilitary Cooperation and War Over Resources in the Arctic? Ottawa is considering the construction of the Royal Canadian Air Force base at Resolute Bay, Nunavut, which is to have a 3,000-metre paved runway to accept heavy cargo aircrafts and ensure stable government and military operation in the North. The Arctic states and some other global players, including China, are now looking for their political, economic and military interests to be satisfied in the region.  Late last year, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that his country would expand its military presence in the Arctic. Last week Canadian National Defence Minister Peter MacKay presented a report headlined "The Arctic Council: Its Place in the Future of Arctic Governance," in which he outlined Ottawa`s position on the problems currently faced by the North. The Voice of Russia 


TouristsRussian Arctic to be Made Tourist Attraction. A tourist zone will be created on the premises of the Russian Arctic National Park in the north of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and on the islands of Franz Josef Land. According to local officials, the construction of helicopter pads and harbors to receive cruise vessels will begin this summer. Former polar stations and deserted military bases will be transformed into tourist centers and virgin territories will be open only for research. Voice of Russia


Kudos! Celeste Leroux was named NOAA's Team Member of the Month for January 2012. Over the past few months, Celeste has performed at an extremely high level in support of OR&R, NOS, and NOAA leadership regarding Arctic science and policy related to oil and gas exploration and development.  In the wake of the DWH spill, OR&R has been more frequently and directly tapped to provide our scientific support for planning and decision making on drilling in Arctic waters.  Largely due to Celeste's exceptional efforts in communications and coordination, as well as her leadership, OR&R has provided effective support to high profile NOAA engagements in Arctic drilling policy negotiations and science decisions. Congratulations, Celeste!     


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events                                   


State of the Union, January 23, 2012. Congress will receive the president's State of the Union address at 9pm EST. The White House will stream the address here


Workshop: Responding to Arctic Environmental Change: Translating Our Growing Understanding into a Research Agenda for Action Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2012.   Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Co-sponsored by International Study of ArcISAC logotic Change (ISAC) and the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Endorsed by the International Arctic Science Committee, this workshop is the first in a planned series of meetings that aim to collectively shape and coordinate initiatives for research that directly addresses the needs of stakeholders who are affected by change or who are addressing arctic environmental change. The long-term objective is to enable local people, the arctic nations and the wider global community, including the scientific community, to better respond to a changing Arctic. This workshop is a pre-IPY 2012 Conference event. It is intended to develop a science plan that will feed into and further evolve at IPY 2012 Conference "From Knowledge to Action". For more information and to register for the workshop go here


Juneau Arctic Policy Forum, February 2, 2012. The Juneau Arctic Policy Forum will be hosted by the Institute of the North and will highlight the work done to IONdevelop and promote Alaska's role in Arctic decision-making. There will be presentations and discussion about the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Arctic Caucus and results from the Northern Waters Task Force. We also hope to include updates from the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Alaska. Click here.  


Arctic Policy Forum, February 16, 2012. This Arctic Policy Forum will feature a compelling panel discussion of the history, current issues, and future plans of IONNORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in Alaska. This Arctic Policy Forum, hosted by the Institute of the North and sponsored by the Government of Canada, will leave participants with an increased understanding of:
* A 50 year partnership and cross-border collaboration
* Arctic governance and sovereignty
* Public safety; and search and rescue
* Maritime and aviation issues related to the Arctic environment


Arctic Workshop, March 7-9, 2012. The Workshop is hosted by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The meeting is open to all interested in the Arctic, and will consist of a series of talks and poster sessions covering all aspects of INSTAARhigh-latitude environments. Previous Arctic Workshops have included presentations on arctic and antarctic climate, archeology, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history, and more. A traditional strength of the Workshop has been Arctic paleoenvironments. Click here


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  


usarc logo large

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 to follow. 


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.


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The APSlogoPolar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", May 2-4, 2012, 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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