Arctic Update Header
May 30, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is in session and will consider legislation to reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration's user fee programs and several items under suspension of the rules. The House Rules Committee will consider rules under which to consider several appropriations bills. The Senate is not in session.




NOAANOAA Takes Remedial Steps After National Weather Service Chief's Departure. The sudden retirement on Friday of National Weather Service chief Jack Hayes coincided with a set of remedial actions agency superiors took following the mishandling of appropriated funds. The actions include improved training and oversight of budget execution and better communication with Congress. Hayes, a six-year veteran atop NWS with 30 years of experience in meteorology as well as service in the Air Force, wrote a goodbye note to staff without referencing a May 24 memo from his boss, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco. The memo recapped events that led to an internal probe of misrouted funds and set in motion a dozen management changes. Government Executive 


Coast Guard SealLawmakers Have Mixed Views about Moving Coast Guard Headquarters. Members of the House Transportation Committee have long complained that they don't get the time of day from the Department of Homeland Security, so a top Republican on the panel is seeking a creative bypass of that communication barrier this summer. Like many legislators with a stake in the department's budget, Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., believes the Obama Administration's fiscal 2013 request for the Coast Guard is detrimentally slim in key areas. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman wants to ask Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano one thing: How can she justify spending nearly $25 million to move Coast Guard headquarters personnel to the St. Elizabeths compound by itself next year while other portions of the agency's budget are being trimmed?  Congressional Quarterly


parnellParnell Signs Alaska Native Language Legislation. During a Monday visit to Dillingham, Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation aimed at preserving and supporting Alaska Native languages. Senate Bill 130, sponsored by Nome Sen. Donny Olson and Nenana Rep. Alan Dick, establishes the Alaska Native Language and Advisory Council, a collection of language experts from throughout the state who will help the state better protect the disappearing languages. "Without language preservation, a culture dies," Parnell said in a press release. "As Alaskans, we honor and celebrate our traditional cultures. The state will join with Alaskans to make sure these languages live on." Fairbanks Daily News-Miner



 russian flagRussia to Reopen Arctic Airbases. Selected air units of Russia's Western military district will start this year preparations to return to abandoned Arctic airfields, the commander of the district's aviation Maj. Gen. Igor Makushev said on Wednesday. Military airfields in the Arctic were used extensively in the Soviet era, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 they have been generally mothballed. "We will start reopening airfields on Novaya Zemlya and in Naryan-Mar as early as this summer," Makushev told a news conference in St. Petersburg. RIA Novosti


North Must Be Developed Sustainably: Sweden's Foreign Minister Outlines Arctic Strategy. The opportunities in the Arctic must be seized but the "significant challenges" in the North must also be "met with great determination." Those are the principles of Sweden's first Arctic strategy as described by Swedish Foreign Minister and former Swedish prime minister Carl Bilt. In its strategy, Sweden has stated that sustainable development is a must. "The people who live in the North need jobs and economic growth, just like everyone else in the world," Bilt said when he addressed a large audience at Carleton University earlier this month. "And this development must be balanced with protection of the sensitive (natural world) and engagement with local scientists. Indigenous populations - the Sami people in Sweden - must have the possibility to maintain and develop the identity they've had for centuries." The Ottawa Citizen 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaWhy Environmentalists Should Support Oil Exploration in Alaska's Arctic Waters. [Opinion] I never figured I'd end up siding with the oil company. When I started research on "The Eskimo and the Oil Man" - a book following the battle over offshore oil in the rapidly opening U.S. Arctic - in 2010, I saw no reason to change my mind. I'm green. I wrote a book blaming carbon emissions for global warming. I figured the oil company would turn out to be a bad guy. Things didn't turn out the way I thought. As you read this the battle over Arctic oil heats up. Shell plans to send drill ships north this summer. The company has poured over $4 billion into buying undersea leases and preparation for work in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Shell believes that up to 27 billion barrels of oil - three times as much as has been taken from the Gulf of Mexico in the last two decades - lies off northern Alaska, and claims that energy can be extracted safely, will cut foreign dependence and create thousands of jobs. Forbes


NSF logoNational Science Foundation Offers Up to $12 Million for Arctic Sustainability Grants. The National Science Foundation is soliciting grant proposals for Arctic Science, Engineering & Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) projects. ArcSEES grants will focus on the natural and living environment; the built environment; natural resource development; and governance. Up to $12 million will be available for 5 to 15 grants and proposals are due September 14, 2012. A long proposal window will allow interdisciplinary groups to form and develop proposals with communities, industry, and collaborating agency scientists. United States Environmental Protection Agency 


Canada-US flagsCanada, US Have Chance to Set Arctic Agenda, Report. A report by two prominent foreign affairs think-tanks says Canada and the United States have a chance to set the Arctic agenda for the next four years -- if they decide to take it. Canada and the U.S. are lining up to chair the Arctic Council, an eight-member group of circumpolar states that is growing in importance in northern governance. The two countries will have a chance to focus the council's attention on North American issues for four years running. CTV 


arcticcouncilSecure, Sustainable Funding for Indigenous Participation in Arctic Council a Key Priority: Report. [Opinion] Finding a new way to fund the full participation of northern indigenous groups with Permanent Participant status at the Arctic Council in all of the organization's working groups and activities should be a top priority when Canada takes the chair of the influential inter-governmental organization next year. The recommendation is one of the 19 offered today by one of Canada's foremost initiatives on Arctic issues, the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program, to the Canadian government as it prepares to chair the Arctic Council in 2013. Science Codex 


Are Seals Safe to Eat? When Pond Inlet environmental technology program (ETP) instructor Shelly Elverum and three of her students attended the International Polar Year (IPY) conference in Montreal last month, they heard something that blew them away. "In Greenland, scientists are recommending women of childbearing age not eat seal because of the levels of mercury and other contaminants in it," Elverum heard. As scientists-in-training, the group wanted to know if the situation on this side of Baffin Bay was any different. Northern News Service 


ChinaflagPush for Chinese Membership on Arctic Council. China and India should be granted entry to the intergovernmental council for Arctic issues, a leading group of policy experts has told Canada. Canada takes over leadership of the Arctic Council in 2013, and granting observer status to China, India, and other "non-Arctic powerhouses" should be a top priority, according to recommendations stemming from a conference organised by the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program policy forum. Nature

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


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.   


USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

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