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July 11, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider legislation to extend expiring tax credits. The House will consider a repeal of the 2010 health care overhaul and may begin consideration of strategic minerals production legislation.



budgetSenate Likely to Punt on Spending Bills Until November. In February, a bipartisan group of senators congratulated each other on an agreement made among party leaders and top members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The hope: to pass all 12 fiscal 2013 appropriations bills under regular order. This week, Senate Democrats are acknowledging they will probably not pass any of the annual spending measures before the November elections. Addressing reporters Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faulted House Republicans for drafting appropriations bills under an overall spending cap -- $1.028 trillion, lower than the $1.047 trillion level agreed on last year's Budget Control Act. "That makes it hard to do these appropriations bills," Reid said. Government Executive


Oil Drilling in AlaskaConservation Groups Sue Over Arctic Spill Plans. A coalition of conservation groups sued the federal government Tuesday over its approval of oil spill response plans for an Arctic Ocean drilling program. The lawsuit does not seek to block Shell Oil from beginning to drill this summer as planned, and an attorney for Oceana, one of the groups suing, said it's unlikely the case will be resolved in a timeframe that could affect drilling this year. However, the case could prevent drilling in future seasons, if the coalition succeeds in getting the approvals set aside, attorney Michael LeVine said. MSNBC  


Unique Glacier Research Facility in Yukon Hit by Federal Cuts. One of Canada's oldest and most celebrated scientific research stations is racing against the clock to avoid having to close its doors. The Kluane Lake Research Station, located in the Yukon adjacent to the largest non-polar icefield in the world, is one of a handful of scientific outposts to have its funding cut by the federal budget. The Kluane Lake facility, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year amid a $2-million renovation, was told in the spring that federal funding for its operations would be immediately discontinued. CBC News has learned that its scientists unleashed a flurry of phone calls and letters that resulted in a moratorium on the decision and an extension of money to the cash-strapped station, administered by the University of Calgary's Arctic Institute of North America, that will keep it alive for several more months. Can-India 


Gray WhaleBaby Boom of Gray Whales Attributed to Early Ice Melt. More than 1,100 gray whale calves completed their first-ever 5,000-mile northward migration, from the warm water lagoons of Mexico to the Arctic Circle. That's twice as many calves as last year, according to Wayne Perryman, biologist with NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Perryman helped count the cow/calf pairs along their journey. "We're counting them as they migrate northbound past a little point of land near San Simeon California, and that's a site that cows and calves pass very very close to the beach," he said. KPBS 


Polar Research on Lake El'gygeytgyn. "This is not what we expected" said Julie Brigham-Grette,University of Massachusetts Amherst, in a video describing work at Lake El'gygytgyn. "To this point no one has much of any terrestrial record anywhere in the Arctic older than 125,000 years ago" Brigham-Grette, continued as she described findings from the Lake El'gygytgyn (or Lake E) project to Office of Polar Programs Board Meeting at the National Science Foundation. Watch her enthusiasm and hear her explanation of the details, along with photos and an animation of Lake E from the field research.  Go to


Canada-US flagsThe Arctic Policies of Canada and the United States: domestic motives and international context. The melting polar ice creates a fundamentally new geopolitical situation in the Arctic that warrants attention at both national and international levels. The ability and willingness of Canada and the United States to address the mix of social, economic and military challenges facing the region will be dependent on a range of domestic conditions and processes. While the USA is just waking up to these changes, Canada has made the Arctic a top political priority. This paper, by Kristofer Bergh, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) explores the domestic motives for the Arctic policies of Canada and the USA and their impacts on the two countries' foreign policies. It describes the Arctic foreign policies of the two states, outlines the complex relationship between domestic politics and Arctic foreign policy in each country and discusses the ways in which the two countries' Arctic policies interact in the international political and diplomatic arenas. SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security 


House Panel to Vote on New Offshore-Oil Drilling Plan. The House Natural Resources Committee is expected to pass legislation this week that would replace the Obama administration's new five-year plan for offshore-oil drilling and expand the amount of federal waters made available for drilling. While it has almost no chance of becoming law, the bill is part of a broader Republican strategy to accuse President Barack Obama of blocking domestic-oil production and contributing to recent surges in gasoline prices in advance of the presidential election.Oil prices have fallen below $100 a barrel and now hover around $85, helping Mr. Obama at a critical time in his re-election. Experts said a rise in oil prices, followed by increases at the pump, could hurt the president and force him to defend energy policies that have been under attack by Republicans. RIGZONE

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events    


Polar Research Board Meeting, July 13-14, 2012. The Polar Research Board will hold a meeting in Portland, OR. Additional information to follow.           



healthmeetinglogo15th 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 indigenous 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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds.  Increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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 museums 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.  

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