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November 14, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider S. 3525, a bill to increase sportsmen's access to federal lands and ease restrictions. Senators hold their weekly caucus meetings and hold caucus leadership elections for the 113th Congress. The House will consider a number of provisions under suspension of the rules.


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 




Oil Whale ExxonFederal Report Calls for More Research on Arctic Oil Spills. A federal commission says more research is needed to prevent and clean up oil spills in the ice-covered waters surrounding Alaska and Canada.The report, issued Tuesday by the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, is framed around a simple question: Just what do governments and oil companies know about stopping a spill in the frozen Arctic? Anchorage Daily News 


ScienceUS State Science Standards are "Mediocre to Awful." A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute paints a grim picture of state science standards across the United States. But it also reveals some intriguing details about exactly what's going wrong with the way many American students are learning science. Standards are the foundation upon which educators build curricula, write textbooks and train teachers- they often take the form of a list of facts and skills that students must master at each grade level. Each state is free to formulate its own standards, and numerous studies have found that high standards are a first step on the road to high student achievement. "A majority of the states' standards remain mediocre to awful," write the authors of the report. Only one state, California, plus the District of Columbia, earned straight A's. Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia each scored an A-, and a band of states in and around the northwest, including Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nebraska, scored F's. (For any New Yorkers reading this, our standards earned a respectable B+, plus the honor of having "some of the most elegant writing of any science standards document"). Scientific American


capitalPelosi to Remain as Democratic House Leader in 113th Congress. Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that she will stay on as House Democratic leader in the next Congress. The California Democrat had remained mum about that decision all year, fueling speculation that she might relinquish power and raising questions about the party's direction after a decade under her reign. The Hill


Election Now Over, Sportsmen's Bill Clears a Senate Hurdle as Reid Blocks Amendments. Congress is back in town after the election to find a way around automatic tax increases and spending cuts in January. But first, lawmakers are dealing with 41 polar bear carcasses. In its first roll call since September, the Senate voted 92-5 on Tuesday to debate a bill to ease restrictions on hunters and fishermen and allow 41 U.S. hunters to bring home polar bear carcasses trapped in Canada due to a ban on trophy imports. Washington Post 


Warming Temperatures Will Change Greenland's Face, Experts Predict. Global climate models abound. What is harder to pin down, however, is how a warmer global temperature might affect any specific region on Earth. Science Daily


arcticcouncilRussian Indigenous Org Wants Arctic Council Support to Fight Shut-Down: RAIPON asks Arctic Council senior officials to put pressure on Russian government. Days after Russia's ministry of Justice suspended the operations of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, the association representing 41 indigenous groups and more than 250,000 indigenous people across the Russian Arctic is seeking international support to survive. In a Nov. 14 statement to senior Arctic officials of the Arctic Council from Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States, who are meeting today in Haparanda, Sweden, RAIPON's vice-president Rodion Sulyandziga asked them "to call upon the Russian government to stop administrative and political pressure and interference into self-governance of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East." Nunatsiaq Online


Latest Homeland Security Fronts: Arctic, Bahamas, California Littorals. Transnational criminal organizations pose a security threat, the National Security Council declared in 2011. But the "area of operations" to combat these organizations is not just the southern border with Mexico, said Maj. Gen. Francis G. Mahon, director of Northern Command and NORAD. The "fronts" are constantly shifting, he said at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C. "They are a network," he said of the criminals. "They are using technology and they are compartmentalized. And I think we need to take a network approach with a whole-of-government effort as we think about countering them." National Defense Magazine


redoubt volcanoStudy: Swelling Volcanoes Could Help Predict Eruptions in Alaska, Elsewhere. A new study of Indonesian volcanoes conducted by two University of Miami researchers could hold vital clues to the future of predicting explosive eruptions from volcanic peaks around the globe. Using data obtained from a satellite-based system known as Interferometric Sythetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), PHd student Estelle Chaussard and her advisor Falk Amelung were able to discern tiny movements in the earth's surface near 79 volcanoes in the highly-volcanic west Sunda arc in Indonesia. They observed "inflation," or a swelling of the earth at six volcanoes using data obtained between 2006 and 2009. In three of those six instances, the volcanoes erupted after observing the inflation. Alaska Dispatch


Alaska Increases Estimate of Salmon Disaster. Alaska commercial fishermen lost an estimated $16.8 million in direct revenue tied to fishing closures because of recent poor king salmon returns, according to new figures prepared by state officials. Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Commissioner Susan Bell enclosed the estimate of losses by commercial fishery permit holders in a letter to the Alaska congressional delegation. An estimate in September put the suspected loss at more than $10 million. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 1935, Research and Innovation Technology Administration Reauthorization Act (Lautenberg, placed on the Senate Calendar)


S. 3525, Sportsmen's Act (Tester, cloture motion on the bill presented in Senate)

Future Events                      


Arctic Technology Conference, December 3-5, 2012. The burgeoning Arctic arena offers a host of opportunities for companies that can solve the complex environmental, physical and regulatory challenges it presents. ATC 2012 will include a highly specialized technical program, education courses, networking events, and an exhibition - all deisgned to help ensure that oil and gas professionals throughout the world are prepared to succeed in these challenging Arctic arenas.


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. Opportunities for community involvement in interdisciplinary planning will be highlighted and input solicited. 


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors. Call for abstracts, due November 30, 2012. 


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.


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