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September 14, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Today, the House considers a bill to prohibit the Department of Energy from issuing loan guarantees for innovated and renewable energy project applications submitted after 2011. The Senate is not in session.



budgetHouse Advances Stopgap Spending Measure. The House passed a six-month stopgap spending bill Thursday, a move meant to spare both parties from campaigning under the shadow of a potential government shutdown. Lawmakers voted 329-91 to pass the continuing resolution (H J Res 117) amid complaints that temporarily extending current spending levels means "kicking the can down the road," and admissions that enacting the CR, while not ideal, is preferable to letting appropriation levels expire Oct. 1. Congressional Quarterly


5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Arctic Ocean. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Arctic Ocean on the night from Friday to Saturday. The epicenter was near one of the islands of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago 80 km south from the North Pole. An earthquake in the Arctic Ocean is a rather rare phenomenon. Voice of Russia


Korea, Norway to Cooperate Further in Arctic. President Lee Myung-bak met with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday morning and discussed ways to expand cooperation in various fields, including Arctic sea development and green growth. The two sides signed two MOUs: one on the development of an Arctic sea route that will shorten the sailing time from Asia to Europe by one-third, and another on cooperation in eco-friendly shipbuilding. The shipbuilding industry accounts for half of the total trade volume between the two countries, and 70 percent of Korean exports to Norway. Chosun Media


Arctic Crustaceans Use Currents, Deep-water Migration to Survive Sea Ice Melts. With sea ice in the Arctic melting to record lows in summer months, marine animals living there face dramatic changes to their environment. Yet some crustaceans, previously thought to spend their entire lives on the underside of sea ice, were recently discovered to migrate deep underwater and follow ocean currents back to colder areas when ice disappears. Phys.Org


Giessel Named to Arctic Commission. State Senator Cathy Giessel is being appointed to the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, announced the senator last week. Alaska House Representative Bob Herron made the announcement during an Arctic Caucus meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, in June. Senator Giessel is a member of the Arctic Caucus, a subcommittee of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER). She is eager to participate in the important Arctic discussions. The Arctic Policy Commission was created by the legislature in 2012 for the purpose of putting Alaska in a leadership role in the development of a nationwide comprehensive Arctic policy. Despite being an Arctic nation, the United States does not have a comprehensive policy specifically focused on economic, ecological and security issues in Alaska and the OCS. Both Arctic and non-Arctic countries are moving forward with building additional infrastructure, including ports, safe harbors, search and rescue centers, and icebreakers and other Arctic-capable vessels. "It is vital for this country to establish the infrastructure and clearly identify security, resource management and economic stability practices for our Arctic regions," said Giessel. The Seward Phoenix Log


Polar Bear Cannibalism: More to Come in a Warmer Arctic? Adult male polar bears preying on cubs and even females has long been observed, but recent sightings off Norway suggest that cannibalism may happen more often as warming temperatures reduce Arctic sea ice, a leading polar bear scientist says in a new report. The conclusion is based on images and observations made of three separate cannibalism incidents in summer and early fall while the adult polar bears were on sea ice, which polar bears use as platforms to hunt seals. NBC News


WalrusArctic Ice: Floes Impeding Shell Oil Hold Promise for Pacific Walrus. A 30-by-12-mile chunk of sea ice floating tens of miles offshore of mainland Alaska in the Chukchi Sea, one of the nation's emerging oil frontiers, may have interrupted exploration in this corner of the Arctic Ocean. But that floe and others are a welcome change for thousands of Pacific walrus, which made long and treacherous journeys to reach Alaska shores in recent autumns. For the last three years in a row, and in 2007, the massive mammals blanketed beaches, sometimes with fatal consequences. Walrus, which are under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, can easily weigh a ton. When startled, the herd may evacuate at once, trampling and crushing animals while fleeing. This is believed to have happened in 2009, when more than 100 walrus, mostly juveniles, were found dead after a large haul-out at Icy Cape, on the Arctic Ocean shore southwest of Barrow. And it's thought that walrus have come ashore in increasingly large numbers recently after exhausting themselves in the search for sea ice on which they can rest and launch feeding forays into the rich waters of the Continental Shelf. A 2010 haul-out at Point Lay, not far from Icy Cape, was estimated to contain at least 10,000 animals. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events                      


Debate on Arctic Challenges Set for Brussels, October 4-5, 2012.The challenges facing the Arctic during a time of change and global warming uncertainty will be the subject of frank and lively debate between policymakers, Ambassadors from European Union and Arctic nations, polar scientists, and representatives industry and Arctic indigenous peoples groups, at the 2012 Arctic Futures Symposium, taking place in Brussels on October 4th and 5th. High-level speakers include Prince Albert II of Monaco, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Belgian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders, and Charles Emmerson, Chatham House Senior Research Fellow on Energy, Environment and Resources, and author of The Future History of the Arctic.  Guest speakers will also include Sweden's Arctic Ambassador Gustav Lind, Greenland's Deputy Foreign Minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Robert Blaauw, Senior Advisor to Shell's Arctic programme, Bernard Funston, Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission, British Antarctic Survey glaciologist Prof. David Vaughan and Lars-Anders Baer, chair of the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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 museums 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.  


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. 


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.

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