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September 27, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



Chinese Icebreaker Sails to Atlantic Ocean and Back via Arctic Route, Marking First for China. A Chinese icebreaker docked Thursday at Shanghai after becoming the first vessel from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, a landmark trip that is part of Beijing's efforts to expand its presence in the Arctic. With melting icecaps accelerating the opening of new shipping routes and the exploration of oil, gas and mineral deposits in the Arctic, China has been eager to gain a foothold in the region. Vancouver Sun


NDP MPs Ask for Emergency Debate on Arctic Ice Loss: Halifax, Western Arctic MPs argue issue affects national security, agriculture. In Ottawa Wednesday, two NDP members of Parliament made a bid for an emergency debate in House of Commons on Arctic sea ice loss. According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre, sea-ice cover in the Arctic Ocean reached an all-time low this summer since satellites began measuring ice cover 33 years ago. Halifax MP Meghan Leslie, the NDP's environment critic, made the first request. "This is not just an environmental issue, it touches all aspects of our society," she said. She said that includes things like national security, agriculture and natural resources, and it's urgent for MPs to sit down and figure out how to deal with the situation. CBC News


Alaska Outlines Arctic Deep Sea Port Ambitions. The state of Alaska is planning to create an Arctic Port Authority to cater for a boom in Arctic shipping in the future. It is also working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to locate a site for a deep water port. Alaska Senator Mark Begich confirmed that the move is part of a bigger plan to improve facilities for shipping in the region. Port Strategy


Alaskan Oil and Wildlife: It's not either/or. Who says we can't strike a balance between energy exploration and wildlife protection? For years, a false either/or argument has stalled progress in Washington on energy development. But now we have a chance to both develop and protect one of our nation's natural treasures. Lying west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and roughly the size of Indiana, the nearly 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska supports a stunning diversity and abundance of wildlife considered globally significant by scientists. The region also contains hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. Given today's polarized politics, is it possible to protect these lands while tapping their resources? Emphatically yes. For proof, look no farther than the August 13 announcement by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of a strategic plan that provides a responsible and equitable approach to managing the reserve. CNN


Senator's Attempt to Bring Governor Back to Talks Get Blunt Reply. A federal proposal that would block oil and gas development in about half the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska has sparked harsh words between the state's Republican governor and its Democratic U.S. senator. That's even though Gov. Sean Parnell and Sen. Mark Begich are united in their opposition to the plan.  It began with a Sept. 13 letter from Begich to Parnell, intended to nudge Parnell back into negotiations. Parnell, a day earlier, had announced the state would withdraw as a cooperating agency with regards to the reserve, saying the Interior Department had treated the state disrespectfully and calling for a new review process. Anchorage Daily News


Unalaska Has Loud Voice on Arctic Policy Commission. As the closest deepwater port to the Arctic, Unalaska is set to play a major role in the region's economic development. Now, the city is positioning itself to influence Arctic politics, too. The State Legislature announced its appointments to the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, and three of the 13 civilian members have lived in Unalaska at one point or another. City Manager Chris Hladick was appointed to the seat reserved for a local government representative. Previously, he served as a member of the Northern Waters Task Force. Former resident, Stephanie Madsen, will be representing the fishing industry on behalf of the At-Sea Processors Association. Pete Garay, who was based in Unalaska until this year, will act as a delegate for the marine pilots. Alaska Public Radio


Inuit Seek to Attract Arctic Mining Investment. A Native American group from Canada's far north is hitting Wall Street Thursday to attract mining investment in a mainly unexplored and potentially lucrative territory: the Arctic.  The trip by the Inuit group from Canada's Nunavut territory comes amid tough financing conditions for start-up mining and exploration projects, meaning miners have to travel further to seek funds. The Nunavut Resources Corporation is, this week, pitching investors in Toronto and New York to find at least a further 17 million Canadian dollars (US$17.3 million) for a project to mine gold, silver, copper, zinc, diamonds and other metals and minerals in the Arctic territory with a private Canadian mining firm. Wall Street Journal


Canada to Take Helm of Arctic Council as Region Heats Up. With the Conservative government's foreign policies already under a critical spotlight this week, a conference on the future of the Arctic to be held Thursday in Ottawa. The conference will urge Canada to assume a new leadership role on the circumpolar stage at a time when the remote region is heating up - politically and literally - like never before. Canada is set to begin a two-year term in 2013 as chair of the Arctic Council. This eight-nation body is steering the region's emergence as an economically and strategically important part of the world. It is a place increasingly accessible - thanks to a sustained, record-setting thinning and retreating of sea ice - to shipping and tourism, oil and gas exploration and military activity. Thursday's event, hosted by the Ottawa-based think-tank, the Rideau Institute, will feature a keynote address from former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, a leading figure in the 1996 founding of the Arctic Council and now president of the University of Winnipeg. Times Colonist

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

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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