Arctic Update Header
June 20, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to consider legislation regarding FDA user fees and legislation to reduce regulatory burdens associated with energy leasing, create a national energy production strategy, and require certain energy lease sales in Alaska. The Senate is expected to consider a disapproval resolution regarding the EPA's Utility MACT rule as well as consider the farm bill.


Nominations are requested for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) request nominations for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee (SAC). SCICEX (Science Ice Exercise) is the US Federal inter-agency submarine Arctic science program. The SAC advises the Federal agencies on scientific priorities, makes recommendations for baseline data collection, and periodically reviews these and updates the SCICEX Phase II Science Plan. The SAC members represent the fields of sea ice geophysics, physical oceanography, biological oceanography and marine geophysics. The SAC typically meets once per year, usually at either ONR or NSF. Nominations are currently sought for a sea ice geophysicist and marine geophysicist. Nominations should include the name, scientific background and accomplishments of the nominee, and a brief statement as to why they would be a good choice for SAC membership. Experience with submarine-based science is not required. Nominations should be sent to Dr. Martin Jeffries ( and Dr. Erica Key ( no later than 31 July 2012. For more information about SCICEX, including the current SAC membership and the Phase II Science Plan, go to



russian flagGOP Links Human Rights Bill to Russia Trade. Senate Republicans are threatening to walk away from a bill sanctioning human rights violators in Russia after the measure's authors suggested several adjustments to address Obama administration concerns. That, in turn, could scuttle the fragile coalition Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has built in support of separate legislation to permanently normalize trade relations between Washington and Moscow. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the three original cosponsors of Baucus' trade bill (S 3285), made clear Tuesday that his support for that legislation is conditioned on the accompanying passage of a tough measure going after Russian human rights abusers. Congressional Quarterly


Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiators Invite Canada to Join Discussions. Lawmakers and business groups cheered the Obama administration's Tuesday announcement that it will invite Canada to join Pacific Rim trade talks, but a senior Democrat cautioned against further expanding the pact to include Japan without new concessions. A day after declaring that Mexico would be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the nine current members of the negotiations had decided to also include Canada, the United States' biggest trading partner and the other member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Congressional Quarterly


Summer Brings New Arctic Rituals. Now that summer is here, the Arctic is crowded with life. Phytoplankton are blooming in its chilly seas. Fish, birds and whales are gorging on them. Millions of migratory geese are in their northern breeding grounds. And the area is teeming with scientists, performing a new Arctic ritual. Between now and early September, when the polar pack ice shrivels to its summer minimum, they will pore over the daily sea-ice reports of America's National Snow and Ice Data Center. Its satellite data will show the ice has shrunk far below the long-term average. This is no anomaly. Since the 1970s, the sea ice has retreated by around 12 per cent each decade. Last year the summer minimum was 1.67 million square miles, almost half the average for the 1960s. Winnipeg Free Press 


canadian flagCoast Guard Seeks Damages for Arctic Cruise Ship Accident. The Canadian Coast Guard is seeking almost half a million dollars in damages from the cruise ship MV Clipper Adventurer and its owners. The Coast Guard, through the federal government, launched a lawsuit on Friday. The ship ran aground near Kugluktuk, Nunavut, in August 2010 after hitting an uncharted rock shelf. The Coast Guard's Amundsen ship had to rescue the 128 passengers after the Clipper Adventurer's crew was unable to dislodge the vessel. CBC News 


Northeast Passage Soon Free From Ice Again? The Northeast Passage, the sea route along the north coast of Russia, is expected to be free of ice early again this summer. The forecast was made by sea ice physicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association based on a series of measurement flights over the Laptev Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. Among experts the shelf sea is known as an "ice factory" of Arctic sea ice. At the end of last winter the researchers discovered large areas of thin ice not being thick enough to withstand the summer melt. Science Daily 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


The Institute of the North hosts Arctic-related events. For details, go here. Three upcoming events, all in Anchorage, AK are: (a) Commercial Applications of Northern Airships, July 31-Aug 2, Federal Research: Priorities and Processes, August 13, and Northern Energy Technology and Science Fair, August 15.


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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission. Aug. 9-10. Fairbanks, AK. More info coming soon. 


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. 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.   

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)