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November 26, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider a budgetary point of order on sportsmen legislation.  The House is in recess and will return tomorrow.


   lame duck

 In Lame-Duck, Congress Looking to Resolve Legislative Leftovers. Congress is running out of time, and not just when it comes to dealing with the looming fiscal cliff. Lawmakers returning to Washington from the campaign trail are off to a slow start in resolving a series of legislative leftovers that have piled up for the lame-duck session. The Hill




[Alaska] State Issues Warning for Eating Shellfish. The Alaska Departments of Health and Social Services and Environmental Conservation issued a joint notice on Wednesday to remind Alaskans that there are no safe months for eating recreationally harvested shellfish. The notice was issued in response to an article in the December/January issue of Alaska Magazine, which the notice from the departments said contained incorrect information about eating recreationally harvested shellfish. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito Running for Senate. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will announce a bid for the Senate on Monday, taking aim at Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Roll Call has confirmed. Rockefeller, 75, and a West Virginia institution first elected to the Senate in 1984, is considered a top potential Senate retirement. Senator Rockefeller chairs the Senate Commerce Committee. Roll Call


capital Several Familiar Faces Get to Work on Solving the Fiscal Cliff Dilemma. The top four leaders in Congress gave marching orders to their staffs to start work on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff before the Thanksgiving break, and the staff got to work. One thing is for sure: Both sides have had plenty of practice at this during the past few years - especially in navigating the serial shutdown showdowns of 2011. While there has been some turnover - Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has a new chief of staff in Mike Sommers - most of the other players remain the same. Roll Call 


Farm Bill Solution Could be Found in Fiscal Cliff Package. House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas has raised hopes that Congress might still be able to produce a multi-year farm bill soon, possibly as part of a package to block impending tax increases and spending cuts. Lucas says Speaker John A. Boehner has indicated that the billions of savings over 10 years that a farm bill provides makes it an attractive option for legislation to avoid a combination of budget sequester and across-the-board spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. The chairman had no details on timing, but people following the legislation say movement would have to occur by the first week of December. Congressional Quarterly


Orca KillerScientists Want New Name for Mammal-Eating Orcas. If whale expert John K.B. Ford has his way, school children one day will study a kind of North Pacific killer whale that preys on warm-blooded creatures -- mostly harbor seals and sea lions, but also gray whales and seabirds.They roam as far north as the Arctic Ocean and are now known as "transients" to distinguish them from fish-eating "resident" killer whales. Anchorage Daily News


Does Fleet Size Matter? A Navy Point of Contention. For the Navy, the size of the fleet is important. But so are its capabilities - a fact that often gets lost in the politically charged debate over how many and what kind of ships the Navy needs to meet its global operational demands. The Navy's size became an unexpected point of contention during the presidential campaign. In a nod to hawks within his own party, GOP nominee Mitt Romney said he would boost the number of ships the Navy buys each year from about nine to 15. Romney decried the current size of the fleet - 287 ships, up from 282 in 2008 - during the final presidential debate, comparing today's Navy to the U.S. fleet in 1917. Congressional Quarterly 


The Man Who Keeps an Eye on the Costs of Shipbuilding. One of the few Bush administration holdovers remaining in the Pentagon as President Barack Obama nears his second term, Sean J. Stackley, is the Navy's top ship buyer. Stackley, whose official title is assistant Navy secretary for research, development and acquisition, oversees all Navy and Marine Corps weapons programs, a broad portfolio with an annual budget that exceeds $50 billion. Congressional Quarterly 


russian flag Analysis: Why did Putin suspend key Russian Indigenous group? In Russia, indigenous peoples have encountered a major setback. The Ministry of Justice has ordered the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (RAIPON) closed until next April because their charter and operations ostensibly conflict with federal law. RAIPON, one of the six indigenous organizations that is a Permanent Participant of the Arctic Council, tried to change its charter to be in line with the law, but the Ministry of Justice has invalidated its attempts. The Ministry of Justice's decision states that they "just now discovered that the Constitution made no representative associations operating in 49 Russian regions, which served as the basis for the decision to suspend the activities of the Association, although the legal provision of the Civil Code RF operates from 1994." RAIPON will appeal to the Supreme Court to try to get their organization reopened. Alaska Dispatch


46 Vessels Sailed Northern Sea Route This Year. As travel through the Northern Sea Route wraps up for 2012, the Barents Observer Reports increased activity. Although two Finish icebreakers remain in transit from Alaska to Denmark, it can be surmised that never before have so many vessels and so much cargo traveled between Europe and Asia through the Arctic shortcut. According to the Barents Observer, 46 vessels used the route in 2012. In comparison, 34 sailed the route in 2011 and only four in 2010. Alaska Dispatch


 Hensley Takes Compass Bearings from Alaska's Past. At 70-something, Willie Iggiagruk Hensley has managed to survive and understand a dramatic upheaval that shook Alaska in his lifetime.Wits and circumstance carried him from a sod house near Kotzebue to a firm foothold in the cash economy. From BIA classrooms to a boarding school in Tennessee to a political science degree from George Washington University. From state legislator to commerce commissioner to Native corporation CEO to K Street lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Anchorage Daily News 


Royce Gears Up to Lead Foreign Affairs Panel. If House Republicans trade Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida for Ed Royce of California as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January, as expected, they will be replacing one of Capitol Hill's most flamboyant and provocative voices on foreign policy with one of its most understated. That doesn't mean that Royce plans to walk back from some of the hard lines that Ros-Lehtinen has drawn on U.S. policy on the Middle East and elsewhere. Democrats, however, are hopeful that with Royce at the helm, there will be more opportunities for bipartisan dialogue and input. Congressional Quarterly


canadian flag Proposed National Park in Canada's Nunavut Nears Approval. After nearly two decades of work and a few stumbling blocks along the way, Nunavut's fifth national park is entering the final stage of the approval process. The proposed Qausuittuq National Park would be near the community of Resolute, in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, and encompass most of Bathurst Island and a few surrounding islands. The Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement negotiations for the park were essentially complete about a month ago. Parks Canada expects the agreement will be approved and signed in 2013. Alaska Dispatch


Rosneft and Statoil Promise to Take Care of the Arctic. The two oil giants Rosneft and Statoil have agreed to protect the arctic environment during exploration of the region's natural resources; other international partners are to follow the lead. The head of Rosneft Igor Sechin and the CEO of Norwegian Statoil Helge Lund signed the declaration on the protection of the environment and conservation of biological diversity of the northern region. The Arctic consists of unique ecosystems that need special protection, the statement says. The two companies confirmed their commitment to develop the Arctic, minimizing the impact on the native population and climate change. The oil firms pledged to carry out regular monitoring of changes in the landscape and seas of the Arctic.RT


Alaska Guardsmen Set Standard for Arctic Search and Rescue. Jumping from the tail of an HC-130 into the dark frigid night, two elite pararescuemen of the Alaska Air National Guard felt their parachutes deploy, before descending safely to frozen ground 160 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A few hours earlier, pararescuemen Air Force master sergeants Roger Sparks and Brandon Stuemke were spending time with their families on what seemed to be a typical Sunday night, when the phone rang. Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered last Wednesday.

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. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 21-25, 2013. Since 2002, scientists from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond have come to the Symposium to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. Researchers and students in marine science re-connect with old colleagues and meet new ones. Plenary and poster sessions feature a broad spectrum of ocean science. Hear the latest in the fields of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. The Symposium also features compelling keynote speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 4-8, 2013. Hosted by The Alaska Forum, Inc. the 2013 Alaska Forum on the Environment will follow up on previous forums by offering training and information, includes plenary sessions, on: climate change, emergency response, environmental regulations, fish and wildlife populations, rural issues, energy, military issues, business issues, solid waste, contaminants, contaminated site cleanup, mining and others.  For 2013, the forum will expand forum content to provide information to help better understand issues surrounding coastal communities. This will include tsunami impacts, marine debris, and coastal erosion.


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.


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Association (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


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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