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March 25, 2013


Both chambers have begun their spring recesses. The Senate returns on April 8. The House returns on April 9.  


capitalSenate Passes 2014 Budget That Would Reverse Sequestration. Following a day and an evening of debate and a "vote-a-rama," the Democratic-controlled Senate early Saturday gave final approval to a budget resolution that differs starkly with the Republican-controlled House version, setting up months of coming clashes over spending bills. After senators had prepared some 400 amendments, only a few dozen were brought to a recorded or voice vote, leading up to a 50-49 vote for final passage that broke down largely along party lines, with four Democrats voting against it. Government Executive


[Alaska] Legislator Claims 1 in 10 Darted Polar Bears Die-60 Times the Number Reported by Scientists. In case you missed this, on March 1, in response to the state losing its appeal of the threatened-species designation for polar bears, Rep. Eric Feige said the federal government itself was responsible for the deaths of many bears."If the polar bear are so threatened, then why do we kill 10-percent of the ones we dart and tag for scientific and management purposes?" Feige said in a prepared statement issued by the House majority press office. Anchorage Daily News 


polar bear icePolar Bear Scientist Probe Finds Problems in Offshore Oil Agency. The arduous scrutiny directed at federal Arctic wildlife biologist Dr. Charles Monnett over the past few years came down to little more than a reprimand. But the fallout rippled through the nation's offshore oil agency. A letter obtained by Alaska Dispatch under the Freedom of Information Act shows why Monnett's employer, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), rejected two of three findings made by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). It took the two agencies nearly six months to release a handful of pages related to a request for information about the investigations of Monnett and his colleague zoologist Dr. Jeffrey Gleason. Most of what was eventually produced had already been widely disseminated last fall. Alaska Dispatch 


Ice Breaking News: This is your 2013 Arctic Freezing Season on Crack. The sea ice cap on top of the Arctic Ocean is often imagined to be a monolithic, continuous sheet of ice floating on water. A closer look quickly shows it is rather a collection of larger and smaller pieces of sea ice. Of course, we have all seen the images of ice floes separated by open water during summer, but even during winter the ice pack gets fractured, leading to leads that quickly freeze over again. This explains how from the 1950s onwards, submarines were able to emerge at the North Pole. The subs couldn't break through the thick ice and had to look for a lead where the ice was thinner. Think Progress


Arctic Ice Breaks Up in Beaufort Sea. A series of intense storms in the Arctic has caused fracturing of the sea ice around the Beaufort Sea along the northern coasts of Alaska and Canada. High-resolution imagery from the Suomi NPP satellite shows the evolution of the cracks forming in the ice, called leads, from February 17 - March 18 2013. The general circulation of the area is seen moving the ice westward along the Alaskan coast. [See video] NOAA 


ChinaflagRussia Lets China Into Arctic Rush as Energy Giants Embrace. Russia's decision to give China a share of prized Arctic exploration licenses as part of a "breakthrough" deal signals how the world's largest oil and gas producer and the biggest energy consumer are redrawing the global energy map. Under agreements signed during President Xi Jinping's first state trip abroad, China may double oil imports from state-run OAO Rosneft (ROSN) to more than 620,000 barrels a day, challenging Germany as the biggest buyer of Russian crude. The two also plan to sign an agreement this year to build a pipeline to ship Russian gas to China. Bloomberg  


Arctic Oil and Gas Activities Affecting Marine Mammals. NOAA, USA, is seeking comments on a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for oil and gas activities in the Arctic Ocean. The draft, developed in collaboration with the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), includes analysis on how a broader range of potential offshore oil and gas activities could affect the environment, with a specific focus on marine mammals and the Alaska Native communities that depend on the animals for food and cultural traditions. Hydro International


arctic shippingStudy to Examine Alaska's Arctic Shipping Needs. The Lt. Governor's office announced last week that it had commissioned a study to examine shipping in the Arctic on the heels of a recent sea ice study, showing that possible unescorted Arctic shipping could be largely possible by 2040. While fewer than 50 vessels reportedly moved through the Northern Sea Route above Russia in 2012, numbers of vessels, many carrying oil, LNG and other energy-related products, is only expected to increase Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell said China has recently announced it intends to ship some 15 percent of its world trade vessels on Arctic routes in coming years. Alaska Dispatch  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation this weekend.

Future Events                      


Deadly Dance: Arctic Warming and Global Climate Change, March 26-27, 2013 (Tufts University, Medford, MA) The Warming Arctic, the Edward R. Murrow Center and the Center of International Environment and Resource Policy will convene a group of experts, policy makers, business and media to examine the growing body of evidence on the climate impact of the Arctic - and try to share some big approaches to it. 


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. 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.


**New** Increased Arctic Maritime Activity, March 27, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska) The Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard will hold a field hearing in Alaska on Arctic shipping safety and reviewing the lessons learned from the 2012 offshore drilling season. The hearing will also examine the U.S. preparation for Arctic shipping more generally, with testimony from Alaska maritime experts, local communities, and environmental groups. Witnesses include:
- The Honorable Tommy P. Beaudreau, Acting Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management, US Department of the Interior (via video teleconference
Rear Admiral Thomas P. Ostebo, Commander, Seventeenth District, U.S. Coast Guard
Mr. Pete E. Slaiby, Vice President, Exploration and Production, Shell Alaska
Ms. Helen Brohl, Executive Director, US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (via video teleconference)
Mr. Ed Page, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Alaska
Ms. Eleanor Huffines, Manager, U.S. Arctic Campaign, Pew Charitable Trusts
Mr. Matt Ganley, Vice President, Bering Straits Native Corp.


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." 


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.



**New** Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Reovaniemi, 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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