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July 16, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider campaign finance disclosure legislation and a judicial nomination. The House is not in session.



How to Make Global Fisheries Worth Five Times More. Rebuilding global fisheries would make them five times more valuable while improving ecology, according to a new University of British Columbia study, published July 13 in the online journal PLoS ONE. Science Daily 


shellShell Says There's No Evidence Drifting Rig Grounded: Some witnesses disagree. Gale force winds have now died down in Unalaska, and a preliminary examination of the hull of the drilling vessel "Noble Discoverer" has turned up no sign of damage. Just yesterday (Saturday), the 14-thousand ton RIG drifted dangerously close to shore in Dutch Harbor -- when its anchor dragged. Pete Slaiby, the Vice President of Shell Oil in Alaska says the SHIP drifted approximately 100 yards. Sustained winds in Dutch Harbor were clocked at 35 miles an hour at the time the Discoverer started its uncontrolled drift, at around 5:20 P.M. KTUU 


What's the Real Damage of Shell's Alaska Drilling Rig Drifting Incident? The damage to Royal Dutch Shell's reputation may be the biggest consequence of the misstep in Unalaska Saturday when a massive ship that could soon be drilling off Alaska's northwest coast apparently dragged anchor before ending up on shore or near it, depending who you ask. Shell faces intense scrutiny as it seeks to conduct exploratory drilling in an Arctic Ocean frontier, where massive risk comes with a potential undersea oil bonanza. That makes the incident involving the 500-foot Noble Discoverer drill rig all the more puzzling. "Was somebody on watch busy with Facebook? Nobody looked out a porthole to notice the vessel's position had changed? No Shell worker on shore looked out their hotel window and said 'Whoa!'" wrote James Mason in an editorial published in the local Dutch Harbor Telegraph.Alaska Dispatch 


canadian flagCanadian Defense Minister Announces Upgrades for Naval Radio Station Aldergrove. The Honorable Peter MacKay, Canadian Minister of National Defense, was at Naval Radio Station (NRS) Aldergrove yesterday to announce the award of a $1.1million contract to Houle Electrical of Burnaby, British Columbia for the modernization of key parts of the station's electrical equipment. "I'm very pleased today to announce improvements to Aldergrove, a facility that has been central to our military's work to protect Canadians and defend of our nation for the last seventy years," said Minister MacKay. "This project will ensure that our men and women in uniform operating on the west coast and in the Arctic can rely on modern, consistent and effective communications systems to support them in their important work. Our investment also supports the local economy, and further underscores our Government's ongoing commitment to having a robust presence and strong capabilities in Canada's North." Defense Professionals 


Arctic Map Why We Should Look to the Arctic. Most Americans think of the Arctic as an icy, distant place; beautiful, remote and teeming with wildlife, but unrelated to their daily lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. This summer, big doings on America's northern doorstep will have enormous consequences to the economic, strategic and environmental future of the nation. Yet we are unprepared for the challenges and opportunities. What happens in the Arctic as ice melts there could soon cheapen the cost of the gas you buy and products you purchase from Asia. It could help make the nation more energy independent. It could draw our leaders into a conflict over undersea territory. It is already challenging Washington to protect millions of square miles filled with some of the most magnificent wildlife on Earth, and native people whose culture and way of life is at risk as a squall line of development sweeps across the once inaccessible top of the planet. CNN


Murkowski, Hastings Press NOAA, BSEE About Arctic Protests. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Washington, sent a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and James Watson, Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), asking what measures NOAA and BSEE have taken to ensure that the planned protest activities in the Arctic by Greenpeace do not disrupt or threaten safe operations, disturb marine mammals or interfere with anticipated Native Alaskan subsistence efforts. "We share your concern for ensuring proper oversight of oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf," Murkowski and Hastings wrote. "In that regard, we want to be sure that you have the resources, are planning and prepared to respond to the steps that Greenpeace is planning to impede exploratory drilling operations in arctic waters off the north coast of Alaska." Political News  


Alaska's Coastlines Being Mapped with State-of-the-Art Technology. When they first started to consider photo-mapping the entire coastline of Alaska, said John Harper of Coastal and Ocean Resources, more than a few scoffed at such a lofty chore. "Doing the entire state of Alaska is an amazing thing," Harper said. "Because there is more shoreline length in Alaska than in the rest of the United States." But after this summer's effort in Kotzebue, 10-plus years after the project's inception, anyone with an Internet connection will have access to high resolution images and maps of nearly 80 percent of the state's coastal zones. Alaska Dispatch    


US Pacific Focus Needs to Include Arctic. The Obama administration's intention to shift military resources to the Pacific satisfies American objectives, including enhancing stability and bilateral relations, and, perhaps most importantly, expanding economic opportunities. Broadening the scope of this shift, or "pivot," as it is often called, to encompass the Arctic region furthers U.S. interests and is harmonious with existing national objectives. Indeed, the strategic doctrine underpinning the Pacific shift bolsters the compelling reasons for America to assert its rights and pursue its interests in the Arctic as well. An invigorated Arctic focus would promote stability and the unfettered flow of global commerce to the great benefit of the U.S. economy - by far the world's largest - as well as the economies of its friends, partners and allies. Ocean-borne trade, which accounts for the vast majority of global commerce, has more than tripled over the past 40 years. Defense News 


caribouState Warns of Possible Harvest Reductions for Alaska's Largest Caribou Herd. Alaska's largest caribou herd, the Western Arctic Herd, numbered about 325,000 animals as of July 2011, according to a census recently completed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This represents a 5 percent decline since the last census was completed in July 2009, and a continuation of the 4-to-6 percent annual decline since it last peaked at 490,000 caribou in 2003. This trend is consistent with annual estimates of increasing adult cow mortality and declining calf survival. "Caribou populations fluctuate naturally in response to a variety of factors," said Jim Dau, a Fish and Game biologist who has worked with the herd for almost 25 years. "Despite this decline in numbers, health assessments conducted by the department and reports from hunters indicate that the body condition of caribou from this herd generally remains good. All in all, while herd size has declined, it's still very large and its sustainability is not in question." The Western Arctic Herd ranges over a 140,000 square-mile area bounded by the Arctic Ocean, the lower Yukon River and the trans-Alaska pipeline. About 40 communities and 13,000 people live within its range. For the indigenous people of these communities, the herd is both a vital link to their cultural heritage and a staple source of food. The WAH is also important to visiting resident and nonresident hunters, and is an important source of income for commercial operators that provide hunting and transport services. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

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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