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May 4, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess.





Former Eskimo Whaling Commission Director Pleading Guilty to 2 Felonies. The criminal entanglements that last September dropped onto George Ahmoagak's mayoral campaign like an 11th hour bomb will leave his wife with three felony convictions. Maggie Ahmaogak has agreed to plead guilty to three of four counts against her in an embezzlement case brought by federal prosecutors last year, less than two weeks before the Oct. 4 election in which Ahmaogak hoped to return to the office he'd held years earlier. In exchange for her pleas, prosecutors will drop a wire fraud charge and appear to have reduced the scope of the scheme for which she is being held accountable. They've also promised not to prosecute her or other family members in connection with her alleged embezzlement of nearly a half-million dollars in cash from federal programs intended to benefit her former employer, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. Ahmaogak served as its executive director for 17 years. Teresa Judkins, who replaced Ahmaogak as the AEWC's executive director until 2008, has also admitted to stealing from and defrauding the nonprofit. Alaska Dispatch 


Murkowski LisaNOAA: A Fish Out of Water in US Commerce Department [Commentary]. There are many issues on which I disagree with President Obama. When someone is right on something, however, it is important to give credit where it's due. Earlier this year, the president asked Congress to grant him authority to reorganize federal agencies. He said his first move would be to consolidate federal agencies that focus on economic development and move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the Department of Commerce to the Department of the Interior. As a state with tremendous ocean resources, conversations about the future of NOAA demand our full attention, and caution is warranted to ensure the best interests of Alaskans are protected. But after reviewing the president's plan for NOAA over the past few months, I've concluded it makes sense on a number of levels. From a basic structural perspective, NOAA is increasingly out of place at Commerce -- like a fish out of water. Its stated mission is to provide the scientific data necessary to protect lives and property, as well as to conserve and help manage our nation's fisheries, oceans and coastlines. Now consider the two departments it could be located in. Commerce is primarily focused on the promotion of economic growth and international trade, dealing with patents and other commercial issues. Interior, meanwhile, manages natural resources, public lands, and fish and wildlife. Based on that alone, it's easy to see why Interior is a more natural fit. Alaska Dispatch 


permafrostGas Extraction Methods to be Tested in Alaska: Carbon Monoxide used at Prudhoe; more trials to come, researchers say. Will the world be tapping methane hydrates deep in the permafrost and off the edges of continents decades from now? Part of the answer will rest with research in Alaska. A day after the Department of Energy announced the results of a test at Prudhoe Bay that resulted in a steady flow of natural gas, researchers stressed that this was among many tests to come. The test was the first use of carbon dioxide to extract natural gas. At 30 days, it was also the longest test of methane hydrate extraction.

"There's much more field work that would need to be done. This is the very first attempt to understand the scientific processes and the behavior of these reservoirs," Ray Boswell, the technology manager for gas hydrates at the Energy Department's National Energy Technology Lab, said Thursday. Anchorage Daily News 


Ottawa Investing $10-million in Arctic Surveillance. Canada is moving to wrest back control of a swiftly changing North - or at least get a better handle on what's going on in its icy waters. Global warming and growing international interest in the melting Northwest Passage make it imperative, the federal government says in an online call for expressions of interest, to improve surveillance in territory Canada claims but knows little about. Globe and Mail 


Scientists Set Their Sights on Arctic Ice Loss. NASA researchers have just completed science mission flights over Greenland and the surrounding seas, gathering data on ice distribution and thickness with the MABEL (Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar) laser altimeter instrument mounted in the nose of an ER-2 aircraft. WIth MABEL's unprecedented ability to detect individual photons, researchers will be able to even more accurately determine how Arctic ice sheets are behaving in today's changing climate. At the same time, news has come in from researchers with the University of Washington, who have completed a NASA- and NSF-funded study of the enormous island's glaciers spanning a ten-year period. What they have found is that the glaciers have been increasing in speed about 30% over the past ten years - which is actually less than earlier studies had anticipated. Universe Today 


A Lifeline for Arctic Gas Emerges: Imperial Mulls West Coast LNG option, fate for Arctic gas. Imperial Oil Ltd. is taking a hard look at stuffing western Canadian gas from its Horn River assets on tankers for export to lucrative Pacific markets, its chief executive said this week. But in signaling that his company would join Apache Canada Ltd., Encana Corp., EOG Resources, Shell, Progress, Nexen and the rest in examining LNG options on Canada's West Coast, Bruce March also expressed a degree of reservation about using high-cost shale gas to feed the massive plants. Alberta Oil

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.  


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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