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May 9, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider student loan interest rates. The House will consider several non-Arctic provisions under suspension of the rules.






capitalHouse Begins Actions on Commerce-Justice-Science. The House on Tuesday worked through amendments to a fiscal 2013 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill, including backing a proposal to bar the Attorney General from bringing lawsuits to overturn certain state immigration laws. The chamber on Wednesday is expected to continue consideration of additional amendments to the $51.1 billion measure (HR 5326) that provides funding for the Commerce and Justice Departments, NASA and other agencies. The measure is the first annual appropriations bill to be considered by either the House or Senate during the fiscal 2013 appropriations cycle and is being considered under an open rule. Congressional Quarterly



Canadian Procurement Setback Freezes Armed Arctic Patrol Boats, Promised in 2006, vessels may be launched by 2018. The Conservative government's list of troubled multibillion-dollar military procurement projects continues to grow as a plan to obtain a fleet of armed vessels to patrol Canada's Arctic waters has been hit with a three-year delay. The Defense Department had been expecting to take delivery of Canada's first of between six and eight Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships in 2015. However, documents tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday show the timeline has been pushed back to 2018. In addition, the $3.1-billion project is now expected to cost $40 million more than anticipated. Ottawa Citizen


Shell Takes Delivery of Ice Class Vessel Aiviq. Towards the end of March, Shell Exploration and Production took delivery of Aiviq (eye-vik), a 360ft ice class anchor handler that will support Shell's 2012 shallow water drilling programme off the coast of Alaska. Aiviq is one of the most technically advanced Polar class vessels in the world and the first of its kind to be built in the US. "This vessel is truly a monument to manpower and a symbol of how Shell is approaching the Arctic," said Shell Alaska VP, Pete Slaiby. Offshore Shipping Online 



Arctic Risk Report Highlights Geopolitical Unknowns [Commentary]. Lloyd's of London, the British insurance company, and Chatham House, a London-based think tank, have released a report together entitled, "Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North." The report states that four key industries will be the "biggest drivers and beneficiaries of Arctic economic development." They are: mineral resources (oil, gas, and mining), fisheries, logistics (including shipping), and Arctic tourism. Thus, governments and corporations are much more likely to profit from growth than the people and wildlife living in the circumpolar region. Yet while governments and corporations stand to gain the most, there are still risks involved. In this blog post, I will focus on the geopolitical risks for companies. They are not likely to materialize, and environmental disasters are much more of a palpable threat. However, they are still interesting to consider given the strategic nature of the Arctic. Alaska Dispatch 


ChinaflagUS Tries to Press China Sea Rights With Pact: White House says Senate approval of long-stalled treaty would let it counter Beijing's claims in an international forum. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is beginning a new push for Senate approval of the Law of the Sea treaty, a long-stalled pact military officials believe is essential to preserve the Navy's right to conduct exercises in waters near China and to enhance U.S. claims in the Arctic and elsewhere. Conservatives have blocked ratification for years, arguing it gives too much power to international organizations over mineral rights, mainly oil. But with the Obama administration's new emphasis on Asia and with China's increasing aggressiveness, some officials believe ratification could at last be at hand. The Law of the Sea Treaty sets out international rules for maritime navigation, territorial waters and countries' use of offshore areas as exclusive economic zones. Wall Street Journal

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.  


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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