Arctic Update Header
May 17, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider two nominees today. The House will consider the FY 2013 Department of Defense Authorization Bill. The full appropriations committee in the House is expected to mark up the Defense and State-Foreign Operations appropriations bills; and in the Senate the Homeland Security and Military Construction-VA bills. 




Oil Drilling in AlaskaSafety, Cost Meet Head on in Arctic Oil Race. The government is discussing a plan to create a technology hub in the northern city of Sevedvinsk to explore the Arctic's offshore hydrocarbon deposits. Half a century ago, this town on the White Sea coast was a supply mecca for residents of the nearby metropolis Arkhangelsk, who regularly made the 35-kilometer trip just to buy sausage, which was usually available in the well-stocked stores of strategically important defense industry centers. Defense orders still form the backbone of the city's economy, with two-thirds of its population employed at two shipbuilding plants that struggled through the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia Indian Report


Reviving Arctic Oil Rush, Ottawa to Auction Rights in Massive Area. Ottawa has placed 905,000 hectares of the northern offshore up for bids, clearing the way for energy companies to snap up exploration rights for an area half the size of Lake Ontario. The scale of the offer indicates eagerness in the oil patch to drill for new finds in Canada's northern waters less than two years after such plans were put on hold following the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a major Arctic drilling safety review. The Globe and Mail 


arctic shippingSatellite to Monitor Arctic Shipping Lanes: A new satellite will be used by Wathernews to provide navigational information, ice monitoring, for commercial vessels in the Arctic Ocean. The 10-kg cube-shaped satellite, jointly developed by Tokyo-based AXELSPACE Corp.and Weathernews, is scheduled to be launched from the Yasny Cosmodrome in Russia on Sept. 28. It will be the first attempt by a private company to use a satellite to monitor ice in the Arctic Ocean, reports the Japan Times. Weathernews plans to use the data to provide navigational information to commercial vessels plying the Arctic Ocean during the summer. The service will become available starting in summer 2013. MarineLink 


Alaska Targets an old Foe: Tuberculosis. Dr. Michael Cooper cringes when he thinks about the time he was a family practice doctor working in Kotzebue, Alaska. Three years ago, he worked in this remote arctic community, which is home to 3,000 people, mostly Inupiat Eskimos. Cooper occasionally saw patients complaining of a persistent cough. They may also have been experiencing night sweats or weight loss - classic signs of tuberculosis. But, he says, "TB was rarely on my list of diagnoses when I would see a patient. I hate to admit that. And as I look back now, I go through these patients some nights and I think, that patient could have had TB, and why didn't I at least do this? Why wasn't I even aware of it?" Until 1950, TB was the No. 1 cause of death in Alaska. That legacy means that a large number of Alaskans still carry the bacteria that can cause the disease. They have no symptoms, and they aren't contagious, but full-blown TB can flare up at anytime and then spread. Kaiser Health News  


Arctic MapLaw of the Sea: US should approve treaty [editorial]. The U.S. Senate is again poised to take up the proposed Law of the Sea treaty, which has languished for 30 years. It remains a missing piece in the puzzle of future Arctic development. The treaty has been approved by 161 nations and all of the world's industrialized countries and those that have Arctic territory - with the exception of the United States. The treaty, which is supported by Alaska's U.S. senators, enjoys broad bipartisan support in the U.S., as well as from industry, environmental and military leaders, but its approval has been blocked by those who claim it would relinquish U.S. sovereignty. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


How Two Vastly Different Men Helped Change the Alaska Arctic. Of all the things critics may say about Bob Reiss's new book, "The Eskimo and the Oil Man: The Battle at the Top of the World for America's Future," don't expect a lack of conflict complaint. Conflict is everywhere in the book: between individuals, between governments, between environmentalists and developers, between the old world and the new. The book -- as one might gather from the title -- revolves around the U.S. and its moves, or lack thereof, toward developing Arctic resources. It's a big subject, and to ground it, Reiss - who has authored numerous fiction and nonfiction works, and has written for such publications as GQ, Rolling Stone, and Parade -- looks to two men with intimate ties to Alaska. Alaska Dispatch 


Meeting on Navigation Services for the Arctic. The Hydrographic Services Review Panel has invited Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and representatives from Alaska's maritime community to provide their insights on the navigational and geospatial challenges in the region. The panel, which is a Federal Advisory Committee that advises the NOAA Administrator on carrying out NOAA's navigation services mission, invites members of the public to provide comments during the afternoon sessions.Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observations and prediction, will discuss the latest developments at NOAA, with a special emphasis on the navigation services that protect lives, strengthen the maritime economy, and position America for the future.The 3-day meeting is at the Hilton Anchorage, 500 West Third Avenue, Anchorage. Hydro International 


Aglukkaq Says Activists Hurt Inuit Ability to Feed Families: Health minister says UN food official 'ill-informed' and 'a bit patronizing.' A federal cabinet minister slammed activist groups who she says interfere in Inuit traditions, blaming them for food security problems in the North. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who's from a hamlet in Nunavut called Gjoa Haven, met with a UN food security official on Wednesday, but said he didn't understand the real problems faced by the Inuit. She said environmentalists and activists were the problem behind any food insecurity. "He's ill-informed. I found it a bit patronizing and [just] another academic studying us from afar who's going to make comments about the challenges that we have," Aglukkaq said following her meeting with Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food. Food security, she said, is "about the fights that we have with groups like [the] European Union that want to stop the seal hunt and/or [the] Pew Foundation who wants to put a moratorium on fishing and/or the polar bear activists." CBC News 


icex subArctic Sea Ice: Claims it has recovered miss the big picture. Perhaps you've heard Arctic sea ice extent has fully recovered after nearly setting record low levels in September 2011. You may have even heard its extent reached record-breaking high levels. What's going on? It is true that the Bering Sea reached a record high extent during the month of April. Much has been made about this record by some bloggers but not much attention has been paid to the other side of the world, where ice extents have been well below normal. Washington Post

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel meeting, May 22-24, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. This federal advisory committee will discuss improvements of navigation services that NOAA provides for Alaska and the Arctic. Topics include new nautical charts and navigation safety, emerging commercial shipping needs, accuracy of land elevation data for coastal management, and natural hazard warning and response for the Alaska/Arctic region. The public is invited, and can provide comments during the May 23 and 24 afternoon sessions. For more information, 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.  


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 24-28, 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.   


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