Arctic Update Header
October 30, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.


[federal offices in DC are still closed, but we're publishing an update anyway...] 



capital National Ocean Policy Sparks Partisan Fight. Partisan battles are engulfing the nation's ocean policy, showing that polarization over environmental issues doesn't stop at the water's edge. For years, ocean policy was the preserve of wonks. But President Obama created the first national ocean policy, with a tiny White House staff, and with that set off some fierce election-year fights. Conservative Republicans warn that the administration is determined to expand its regulatory reach and curb the extraction of valuable energy resources, while many Democrats, and their environmentalist allies, argue that the policy will keep the ocean healthy and reduce conflicts over its use. Washington Post


Science [OPINION] Science is the Key to Growth. Mitt Romney said in all three presidential debates that we need to expand the economy. But he left out a critical ingredient: investments in science and technology. Scientific knowledge and new technologies are the building blocks for long-term economic growth - "the key to a 21st-century economy," as President Obama said in the final debate. So it is astonishing that Mr. Romney talks about economic growth while planning deep cuts in investment in science, technology and education. They are among the discretionary items for which spending could be cut 22 percent or more under the Republican budget plan, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. New York Times


Inuit Artist Has Solo Show at Washington's Smithsonian. Abraham Anghik Ruben has become the first Inuit sculptor to get a solo show at the Smithsonian's American Indian Museum in Washington, D.C. The carver - who works in bone, stone, ivory and bronze - says his work reflects his roots in the North and Inuit core belief systems. "For myself, it's an exhibition that I've been waiting 40 years for. It's taken 40 years to get to this stage in my life, and I'm extremely pleased with the events and the effort that went into making this exhibit," Ruben told CBC News in an interview last week. CBC News


Young Young Looks to Translate Seniority Into Arctic Assests. Election Day is fast approaching, and Unalaskans will have the chance to cast their ballots in a number of state races on November 6. This week, KUCB is airing interviews with candidates for Alaska's one congressional seat and with the region's representatives in the State Legislature who are up for reelection. KUCB's Alexandra Gutierrez has this Q&A with longtime Rep. Don Young. He's running against Democrat Sharon Cissna. In their conversation, Young expresses support for the inclusion of Unalaska in an Arctic drilling revenue-sharing plan, hashes out an idea for leasing more icebreakers, and talks about future expansions of the Akutan airport. KUCB


Sites Considered for Research Station. Four locations in Cambridge Bay are under consideration for the planned Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS). Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is considering locating the proposed research station either on Airport Road, on Water Lake Road or on the road to Mount Pelly, explained Jim McEachern, economic development officer and hamlet representative on CHARS committee. He said the committee is considering two sites on Airport Road, and the Water Lake Road site is adjacent to the proposed Nunavut Arctic College campus expansion. Northern News Services Online


Chinaflag China and the Arctic: The Next 'Strategic' Frontline? In September 2012, Xuelong (Snow Dragon) a Chinese icebreaker capable of breaking 1.2 meters thick ice, completed an unprecedented round trip between the Pacific and the Atlantic via the Arctic, after commencing its journey from the Qingdao port in July 2012. According to the Polar Research Institute of China, the icebreaker with its 119 member team successfully performed scientific research operations including systematic geographical surveys, installation of an automatic meteorological station and investigations on oceanic turbulence and methane content in the Arctic area during its 18,500 nautical miles journey, including 5,370 nautical miles in the Arctic. Eurasia Review


Aglukkaq Stresses "People-First" Approach to Arctic Council: EU, China must demonstrate "respect and support of indigenous peoples." Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's minister for the Arctic Council, told reporters Oct. 27 that she prefers to take a "people-first" approach to the eight-nation council's work - and to the question of new permanent observer applicants like the European Union and China. "My view is that to be part of the Arctic Council, people come first, the development of the people come first, and how we respect the indigenous people through that application process," Aglukkaq said. This past Aug. 23, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that when the chairmanship of the Arctic Council moves from Sweden to Canada in May 2013, Aglukkaq will serve as Canada's chair. Nunatsiaq Online


canadian flag Canada Consults the Industry on In-Service Support for National Defense's AOPS and JSS. Today, the Government of Canada is holding an industry consultation to discuss in-service support for the Arctic offshore patrol ships (AOPS) and the joint support ships (JSS). These two classes of vessels will serve the Royal Canadian Navy. The AOPS are to be built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc., and the JSS by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd., under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). "Industry engagement is a key element of the success of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy," said the Honorable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. "Working closely with industry helps ensure the best value for Canadian taxpayers and contributes to a fair, open and transparent process." US Politics Today


Automatic Passing Isn't Helping Failing Students in Canadian Arctic. Local education authorities in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut are calling for an end to the practice of promoting students who don't pass the tests or do the work required at their grade level. The practice - known as 'social promotion' or 'social passing' - is based on the theory that students stay in school longer when kept with their peers. But both students and District Education Authorities say it is lowering the quality of education. Danny Ishulutak is a college student in the province of Ontario. But he said high school in the Nunavut community of Pangnirtung barely prepared him for college. "I could say now that it almost stopped me from going to post secondary," said Ishulutak. The issue of social promotion dominated the annual general meeting of District Education Authorities in Iqaluit this week. Alaska Dispatch


russian flag Opening of Huge Russian Field Drives Another Nail Into Alaska's Gas Coffin. In the Russian Arctic, state-owned oil giant Gazprom is doing what Alaskans have long dreamed of -- tapping vast reserves of natural gas at the top of the planet and shipping them to markets. Although natural gas has been flowing from the Yamal Peninsula's Bovanenkovo gas field since June, this past week Gazprom hosted a big event to celebrate the official launch of its field and the workers there. Bovanenkovo, one of the world's three largest conventional natural gas fields, holds an estimated 177 trillion cubic feet of gas. Its official opening featured a giant video monitor that beamed in an address from Russia President Vladimir Putin. The Wall Street Journal described the event like this: "Putin praised Gazprom's successful launch of the new gas field, expected to produce for the next 28 years. He then suddenly slammed the gas monopoly for not adjusting its policy to what he saw as the risk of growing production of shale gas around the world." Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday or Monday.

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.  


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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