Arctic Update Header
March 8, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to consider legislation to improve access to capital markets. The Senate is expected to consider the surface transportation bill.


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 

high-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.


Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Arctic Caucus Roundtable, March 8, 2012. The PNWER Arctic Caucus will hold a roundtable discuss in the U.S Capitol on the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force report; 'A Northern Vision' and Economic Strategy for the Northern Territories; Alaska Commission to develop an Alaska Arctic Strategy; Opportunities to do research on the Arctic in the North; Partnership between Alaska, Yukon and Northwest Territories on Oil Spill Response and Research and Rescue; US and Canada Icebreaker Fleet; and, Recommendation that the US and Canada Begin Discussions on Points of Collaboration for the 2013-2017 Leadership of the Arctic Council. Confirmed participants include Alaska Senator Lesil McGuire; Minister of Economic Development, Northwest Territories David Ramsay; Minister of Economic Development and the Environment, Yukon, Currie Dixon; US Senator Lisa Murkowski; Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer; Alaska Representative Reggie Joule; Alaska Senator Bert Stedman; Alaska Senator Lyman Hoffman; and, Alaska Representative Bob Herron.


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.




Balancing Socioeconomic Needs with Our Ocean and Coastal Space: Testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, of Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress. Chairman Lamborn, Ranking Member Holt, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on this critical topic. My name is Michael Conathan and I am the Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. CAP Action's ocean program focuses on supporting science-based policies and finding solutions that balance the socioeconomic and environmental needs of Americans and our ocean and coastal space. We cannot start a conversation about the budgets and legislative proposals for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, or BSEE, without acknowledging that these two agencies were formed in the aftermath of the tragic 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that claimed the lives of 11 men, and over the course of three months spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Center for American Progress 


Four Steps to Protecting the Arctic, Our Final Ocean Frontier. [Opinion]

As summer sea ice disappears, Big Oil, commercial fishing, shipping and other industries have set their sights on the Arctic as a new source for profits.  So far, mismanagement of virtually every other ocean on the planet has led us to a brave new world of collapsing fisheries, massive dead zones, huge floating garbage patches and destroyed habitats. The Arctic Ocean -- long protected by a blanket of ice and now on the brink of major new development -- might be our last chance to get oceans management right. In late February, I had the opportunity to speak at the World Oceans Summit in Singapore, an international conference hosted by The Economist. Hundreds of government officials, business leaders, scientists and activists came together to address our biggest ocean challenges.  I came away from the meeting feeling more than ever that we need bold, daring, and achievable solutions to conserve and protect this remarkable and unique ocean, and the wildlife and people who depend on it. Natural Resources Defense Council 


Lancaster Sound Input Needed: Inuit: Group urges Tories to consult them before finalizing conservation area boundary. The federal government should consult with Inuit who live in the High Arctic before finalizing the boundaries of a National Marine Conservation Area around Lancaster Sound - the ecologically rich stretch of Arctic waters north of Baffin Island - says a report released Wednesday by a regional Inuit group. "We want the government to commit to working with the local communities to co-manage the important waterway," said Okalik Eegeesiak, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which commissioned the report. Lancaster Sound - or Tallurutiup Tari-unga, as it is called by the Inuit - is often called the "Serengeti of the Arctic" because it is home to thousands of species including seals, polar bears, walrus, beluga whales, killer whales and narwhals. Edmonton Journal 



Coast Guard Plans Heavy Icebreaker, Begich Says. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says the Coast Guard is including $860 million in its five-year budget plan for a new heavy polar icebreaker. The Alaska Democrat says in a release that news of the plan came at a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Oceans, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee. Begich is subcommittee Chairman. Alaska's congressional delegation has pushed for an icebreaker as Arctic waters become a focus for petroleum drilling, tourism and transportation. The country has two heavy icebreakers. The 399-foot Polar Sea has been docked in Seattle since experiencing engine problems in 2010. Its sister ship, the Polar Star, is going through $57 million in upgrades. Anchorage Daily News 


Diseased Seal Shows Up in Southeast Alaska, far from normal range. The mystery disease that killed or sickened at least 135 seals in the Arctic has been discovered for the first time in a yearling seal that traveled far from its range to Southeast Alaska. A fisherman there found a "fairly bald, sickly-looking, and lethargic" seal hauled out on the shore near Yakutat last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. After hearing about the seal, thought to be a ringed seal, officials recommended it be sent to Anchorage for analysis. The animal was so sick it had to be euthanized, the agency said in a press release. A necropsy determined the seal's symptoms were similar to those that led NOAA late last year to declare the deaths an unusual mortality event, a decision that frees up more resources to pinpoint the cause of the disease, the agency said. Alaska Dispatch 


Russian Northern Sea Route Critical to Development of Yamal Megaproject. Russian independent natural gas producer OAO Novatek (NVTK.RS) shipped nine cargoes or more than 600,000 metric tons of stable gas condensate via the Northern Sea Route to China and other Asia Pacific markets in 2011, the company said Wednesday. In September 2010, Novatek sent its first icebreaker with stable gas condensate via Russia's Arctic waters to the Chinese port of Ningbo. The company has signed a deal with Russia's state nuclear icebreaker fleet, Atomflot, to secure stable supplies through the Northern Sea Route from the Yamal LNG project-a joint project with France's Total SA (TOT). gCaptain 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  



HR 4154, SAVE Native Women Act (Boren, introduced and referred to committee) 

Future Events                                   



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  


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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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