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March 2, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider surface transportation legislation. The House is not in session.



offshore oil[from the "...and you were worried about Arctic drilling? folder] Cuba Drills for Oil, but U.S. Unprepared for Spill. As energy companies from Spain, Russia, and Malaysia line up to drill for oil in Cuban waters, 60 miles from the Florida Keys, U.S. agencies are struggling to cobble together emergency plans to protect fragile reefs, sandy beaches and a multibillion-dollar tourism industry in the event of a spill. Drawing up contingency plans to confront a possible spill is much more difficult because of the economic embargo against Cuba. U.S. law bars most American companies - including oil services and spill containment contractors - from conducting business with the communist island. The embargo, now entering its 50th year, also limits direct government-to-government talks. Washington Post   


Navy Officials: Fleet is Large Enough for Focus on Pacific. Despite concerns raised by House Defense appropriators, Navy officials said Thursday that they have enough ships to meet all the service's commitments in the increasingly important Pacific region. Several House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee lawmakers raised concerns about an apparent incongruity between a decision by the Navy to reduce the number of ships it plans to buy over the next five years while at the same time emphasizing a strategic shift to the vast Asia-Pacific region. Lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned about China's economic rise and its increased investment in its military forces, particularly its Navy and its ability to deny U.S. warships access to strategic waterways. Congressional Quarterly  


Russia Canada FlagsPutin Urges Joint Arctic Scientific Council with Canada. Russian leader Vladimir Putin challenged Canada to set up a joint scientific council with his country to investigate issues over arctic sovereignty and help the United Nations draw new boundaries in the northern regions, where fast-melting ice is opening channels for oil drilling, mining and shipping. There are Canadian concerns that Russia is exploring the shelf under the Arctic Ocean with an eye to expanding its territorial boundaries and, with it, resource rights and shipping access. The tension has been magnified by a cool relationship between the Harper government and Moscow over several issues ranging from visa permits to Russia's position in the Middle East. The Globe and Mail 


Loss of Arctic Sea Ice May Lead to Mercury Deposits, NASA study shows. Significant declines in perennial Arctic sea ice over the past decade may be intensifying a chemical reaction that leads to deposits of toxic mercury, a NASA-led study showed on Thursday. The study found that thick, perennial Arctic sea ice was being replaced by a thinner and saltier ice that releases bromine into the air when it interacts with sunlight and cold, said Son Nghiem, a NASA researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. That in turn triggers a chemical reaction called a "bromine explosion" that turns gaseous mercury in the atmosphere into a toxic pollutant that falls on snow, land and ice and can accumulate in fish, said Nghiem, lead author of the study. Reuters 


Pair of Northern Waters Task Force Recommendations Win Approval. The Alaska House of Representatives voted today to send a resolution to Congress urging them to fund the U.S. Coast Guard's needs in order to carry out its expanding Arctic missions. House Joint Resolution 34, sponsored by Rep. Bob Herron, promotes two of the recommendations forwarded by the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force: the need for more Coast Guard Icebreakers and a Coast Guard forward Arctic base. The Task Force met over the last two legislative interims to listen to Alaska's Arctic residents, educate policy-makers regarding Arctic issues, and formulate recommendations so that Alaska can position itself as a leader of its own Arctic destiny. Alaska Native News  


Finland to Design Advanced Icebreaker for Canada. Aker Arctic Technology of Finland will be joining a team led by STX Canada Marine, to design the Canadian Coast Guard's future flagship, the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. Working with STX Canada Marine, Aker Arctic will be responsible for assessing ice loads, developing the hull form and structure of the ship, the conceptual design of the propulsion system, and providing the winterization principles to be used.The John G. Diefenbaker, named after a former prime minister, will be able to operate autonomously for 270 days in the Arctic, over a larger area and in more difficult conditions than any of Canada's current icebreakers. IANS Live


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 2147, a bill to provide for research, monitoring and observation of the Arctic Ocean and for other purposes (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)



Future Events                                   


Interagency Science in the Arctic, March 6, 2012. The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (AACAP) will host a webinar with the National Science Foundation's Erica Key. The purpose of this webinar is to connect scientists with government officials and policymakers. 


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.


The Science of Ocean and Coastal Restoration, March 7, 2012. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership will hold a Public Policy Forum in the Capitol Hill Visitors Center (Room SVC 210/212) on Capitol Hill. This year's theme is the science of ocean and coastal restoration. The Forum will begin at 8:30 a.m. and features 3 panels with various panelists from around the country and remarks by several Members of Congress. Invited speakers include EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senator Begich, Senator Cardin, and USARC Chair Fran Ulmer. Details here.  


Fiscal 2013 Budget: Native American Programs, March 8, 2012. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2013 budget request for Native American programs.


Fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization: Southern and Northern Commands, March 13, 2012. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Northern Command in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal 2013 and the future years' defense program. The session may be closed.


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 Polar 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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