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July 13, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session. 


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



Murkowski, Begich Press White House on Arctic Strategy. Alaska's bipartisan Senate delegation says the White House doesn't quite have the vision thing down yet when it comes to planning for development in the Arctic. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D), in a cordial letter to the White House this week, applaud several administration actions but say an "overall national U.S. strategy" for the region is needed. "The United States is the only Arctic nation which lacks such a formal strategy which ties together all the individual agency policies and visions," states the July 11 letter to President Obama, made public Thursday. The Hill 


Senator Begich's Press Release.


Senator Murkowski's Press Release.


los More Senators Line Up Against Sea Treaty. Opposition to one United Nations- brokered treaty is hardening, while advocates for another are optimistic about its chances for Senate ratification before the August recess. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is among the latest Republican senators who have added their names to a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., opposing the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (Treaty Doc 103-39), a pact written in the 1980s to establish guidelines for nations' use of the world's oceans. The addition of McConnell and Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, pushes to 30 the total number of senators who have signed the letter, which is headed by Jim DeMint, R-S.C. Two-thirds of the Senate must approve ratification of treaties before the United States can officially join a given pact. Congressional Quarterly


The Arctic Oil Race is On: Who's Winning? The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic holds as much as 90 billion barrels of oil - or 13% of the world's total recoverable supply. In the past, these reserves weren't worth tapping. The cost of extraction far exceeded the price of oil. But now, oil prices have soared and most of the planet's easy-to-reach wells are running dry. As a result, global oil majors are scrambling to lock up Arctic oil reserves. Wall Street Daily 


shellShell's First Drilling in Arctic Now Pushed into August. With its Arctic drill fleet now assembled in Dutch Harbor, Shell is waiting on unpredictable Mother Nature. Summer ice conditions along the northern Alaska coast are the worst in a 10-year period, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said July 9. The heavy ice has caused target dates for the company's first drilling at two exploration prospects in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas to be pushed into the first week of August, Smith said. "This is the heaviest ice coverage we have seen in a decade," he said. In a related development, a coalition of environmental groups filed new lawsuits July 10 in federal court in Anchorage over the federal government's approval of Shell's oil spill cleanup plans. Alaska Journal 


Brutal Bering Sea Ice Blocking Arctic Supply Ships. Brutal sea ice conditions that northwest Alaska battled all winter haven't receded in parts of northern Canada. Two resupply ships are stuck waiting at the mouth of Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit because of tough ice conditions. Frobisher Bay is an inlet of the Labrador Sea. In June, winds and currents pushed heavy ice into the area, CBC News reported on Wednesday. Now, two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are trying to punch a path through for the resupply vessels. However, the ice is so thick that it's closing in around the icebreakers before the other ships can follow. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events    



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.  


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.

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