Arctic Update Header
April 17, 2013


The Senate will hold a series of votes on gun control legislation. The House is expected to adopt the rule and begin general debate on a bill that would encourage private companies to share information about cyber-threats. 


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics." 


Ricin Letter Adds to Anxiety on the Hill. Amid an already edgy state of alert in Washington following Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon, law enforcement officials confirmed on Tuesday that they were also investigating whether an envelope containing the poison ricin was intended to harm Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. "The U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI and other agencies are involved in the investigation of this mailing," Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said in a message to Senate offices Tuesday night. Government Executive


NOAA NOAA Plans to Shut Down Agency for 4 Days. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to shut down most agency operations for four mandatory furlough days in July and August in response to sequester-related budget cuts, according to the agency's acting chief. "In the constrained budget environment in which we find ourselves, there are no easy or painless options available," Kathryn Sullivan told employees in a Monday email. "We are working to ensure that mission-critical or life-saving products and services are still provided." Federal Times


Alaska, DOE Agree to Study Unconventional Energy. The U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Alaska will collaborate on future research of unconventional energy resources in the Arctic, including abundant reservoirs of methane hydrate.The DOE's acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, Christopher Smith, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan announced the agreement Tuesday and spoke to reporters from Houston, Texas, where they are attending LNG 17, a natural gas conference. Anchorage Daily News


Begich Administration Includes Begich Request for 'Simpler Plan' in National Oceans Policy. A revised National Oceans Policy implementation plan released today incorporates key recommendations made by U.S. Senator Mark Begich. Begich criticized the initial plan, requesting a simpler approach and objecting to the original call for multiple planning agencies that would expand an already bureaucratic system and make it difficult for states to navigate. The redrafted plan was released today by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Alaska Native News 


Accord Would Regulate Fishing in Arctic Waters. It was once protected by ice. Now regulation will have to do the work.  The governments of the five countries with coastline on the Arctic have concluded that enough of the polar ice cap now melts regularly in the summertime that an agreement regulating commercial fishing near the North Pole is warranted.  Talks are scheduled for later this month among diplomats and fisheries officials from Norway, Denmark, Canada, the United States and Russia. Most concern is focused on newly ice-free waters above the Bering Strait, above the exclusive economic zones of Russia and the United States, and now accessible to trawler fleets from hungry Pacific Ocean nations like China and Japan. New York Times


Three Years After BP Spill, Report Card Notes Improvement but More to Do. While federal agencies and the industry have continued to advance the safety of offshore oil drilling, Congressional action is slow in coming. This difference is reflected in the grades the former members of the national oil spill commission assigned in the report card released today tracking how the nation is doing in implementing the recommendations they made more than two years ago. The Administration received a grade of B, industry a B- and Congress a D+. Oil Spill Commission Action

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      


Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS 2013), April 22-24, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) Sponsored by the World Ocean Council, SOS 2013 is designed to bring together a diverse range of ocean industries: shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore renewable energy, ports, dredging, mining, cables and pipelines, marine science, engineering and technology, the maritime legal, financial and insurance communities, and others - as well as ocean stakeholders from the government, inter-governmental, academic and environment communities. On Wednesday, April 24th, USARC's John Farrell will be a speaker at "The Arctic Challenges and Opportunities for Responsible Industries."


The deadline to submit an abstract for the 2013 Arctic Energy Summit has been extended to April 30th.  Submissions can include proposals for papers, workshops, and panels.  The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit will bring together industry officials, scientists, academics, policy makers, energy professionals, and community leaders to collaborate on Arctic energy issues. The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit will address energy extraction, production, and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to the theme of "Richness, Resilience & Responsibility:  The Arctic as a Lasting Frontier." The Summit is October 8-10 in Akureyri, Iceland.   


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. 

 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 Organization (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, Bergen, Norway. 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.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and icedimArctic Maritime Operations, July 16-18, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) co-host this follow-on symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region. Invited speakers include nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.


The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; Arctic Resources; and Tourism.


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland) The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest research scientific knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic.


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