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November 2, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



Court Tries to Tally Money Stolen From Whaling Commission. Federal prosecutors said a former director of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, who pleaded guilty in May to stealing commission funds, spent some of the more than $420,000 she embezzled on her and her husband's gambling. Lawyers are still negotiating about how much money Maggie Ahmaogak, the commission's executive director from 1990 to 2007, directed to herself for gambling and personal items, including snowmachines, an expensive refrigerator and a luxury Hummer SUV. During an unusually complicated sentencing hearing Wednesday, which seemed much like a day of trial, a federal prosecutor and Ahmaogak's attorney argued about where the money came from and where it went. Anchorage Daily News


WydenWyden Poised to Take Spot as Top Democrat on Energy Committee. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden will find himself right in the middle of the policy fight over coal exports when he ascends to the top Democratic slot on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year. Whether as chairman or ranking member - depending on which party controls the Senate - Wyden will have a prominent voice on an issue especially important to his state, where there is strong opposition to shipping coal for export through Northwestern ports. Congressional Quarterly


Healy, Coast GuardHealy at Port in Juneau After 2 Years: Icebreaker Guided Tanker to Nome in January. For the first time in two years, the USCGC Healy, a United States Coast Guard Cutter, is at port in Juneau for its trip south from an eventful tour up in the Arctic. The Healy, which is homeported in Seattle, made national headlines last winter when it guided the Russian fuel tanker Renda through sea ice to Nome, as the remote Alaskan port city ran low on its reserves. Juneau Empire


Coast Guard SealAfter Busy Summer Off North Slope, Coast Guard Ends Arctic Shield. With winter coming, the U.S. Coast Guard ended its Arctic Shield operation on Wednesday, during which Barrow was the base for two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters supported by ground communications crew and an array of vessels offshore. "For the first time, we had Coast Guard crews standing the watch and ready to support search and rescue, environmental protection and law-enforcement operations in the Arctic," Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo of the Coast Guard's 17th District said in a press release. "Our Arctic Shield crews were directly responsible for saving or assisting 10 people and supporting partner agencies in conducting numerous operational missions." Alaska Dispatch


United Fishermen Outlines Policy Watch. Sea otters and the Arctic are two focal points for Alaska's top fishing group at both state and federal policy levels. United Fishermen of Alaska is the nation's largest industry trade group representing nearly 40 organizations. At its recent annual meeting UFA outlined several of its policy watches prior to the legislative session; the group also gave out awards and made a job offer. UFA is working closely with state and federal overseers to craft a management plan for exploding populations of sea otters in Southeast Alaska. The mammals, which were reintroduced to the region in the 1950s, are feasting on fishermen's shellfish catches and completely wiping out stocks in prime areas. Sea otters are protected under the Endangered Species Act and may only be hunted by Alaska Natives for traditional uses. The Tundra Drums 


Shell in ChukchiShell's 2012 Arctic Drilling Season Concludes. Shell has ended its drilling season off Alaska's Arctic. With a shortened amount of time, the oil giant managed to drill just the top portions of two wells, when it had originally planned as many as six exploration wells. The company did not try to penetrate deeper reservoirs that could hold oil, but confirms that this work will aid tremendously in positioning Shell for a successful drilling program in 2013. Each well was drilled to a depth of 1,400 feet, according to the Seattle Times. Despite the mass opposition surrounding Shell's exploratory drilling plans, the Obama administration issued the drilling permits that were necessary to begin work. Alaska's open-water season is usually restricted to about four months of the year. Although the Arctic region is suffering from an overall ice thaw, the sea ice lasted longer than predicted in the Chukchi Sea where Shell was planning to drill. Following the receipt of its final permit, Shell still had to wait for a giant ice sheet to pass. The Maritime Executive 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      



Foreign Policy Panel Debate: "Is the Law of the Sea Treaty in the United States' Best Interests?" POSTPONED. The American Academy of Diplomacy and the World Affairs Council cosponsor a panel discussion on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.  


1st International Symposium on Small Satellites for Arctic and Maritime Operations and Research: November 9, 2012. Taksha University; the Global Maritime Awareness Institute for Safety, Security, and Stewardship; The Taksha Institute for Small Satellite Space Systems; and the Journal of Small Satellites will host this symposium. The symposium will consider the safety and security of the Arctic environment and global maritime assets, including the protection of the maritime environment and its resources, as well as the people and vessels who traverse the waters of the world.


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. 


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.


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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