US Arctic Research Commission
November 24, 2010

Today's Events

The House and Senate are in recess for Thanksgiving. Both chambers will reconvene on Monday, November 29.


Arctic Change: Consequences for Marine Life, November 25The event is organized as part of the Willem Barentsz Polar Institute as part of the "Poolnacht van Groningen." Presentations will include: Arctic Sea Ice- changes and consequences, Physical and Biological Changes in the Arctic Ocean, The Effects of Past Climate Changes on Abundance and Migration of Marine Mammals in Polar Regions, Sonar Exposure on Marine Mammals, Animal Health in a Changing Arctic, The Modern Whaling Industry in the Arctic: Diffusion and adoptions of a technical system, Sustainability of the Russian Walrus Hunt on Spitsbergen in the 18th Century, Mercury as a Global Pollutant and Its Effect on the Arctic, and The Future of the Arctic.
Media Reviewtodaysevents

Senator Presses Spill Panel to Examine Australian Disaster: Dem to oil spill commission: Australian accident was a warning sign. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has an assignment for the presidential commission probing the BP oil spill. He wants the panel - and a separate National Academy of Engineering review - to probe whether the disaster could have been avoided "had the oil industry and U.S. oil regulators properly heeded the warning signs of the Montara oil spill off the western coast of Australia in 2009." The Hill


Fed okays polar bear "critical habitat." The Obama administration is setting aside Polar bear187,000 square miles of Alaska as a "critical habitat" for polar bears, an action that could add restrictions to future offshore drilling for oil and gas. Anchorage Daily News

Passage of Earmark Ban in Doubt. Senate proponents of a three-year moratorium on earmarks say they will not have enough votes to implement the reform measure when lawmakers consider the issue next week. "We got a long road here," said a Senate GOP aide who supports the measure. "We are 70 yards from the goal line, but I think momentum is on our side." The Hill


Cardin-McCain Whistleblower Bill Could be a Threat to US-Russian Ties. As the White House feverishly lobbies the Senate to approve a long-stalled nuclear-arms treaty, a bipartisan bill seeking answers in the suspicious death of a Russian attorney could escalate tensions between Washington and Moscow.  Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as co-sponsor, introduced the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act of 2010 just before lawmakers went home to campaign this fall. Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) has offered companion legislation in the House. The Hill


Connecticut Coast Guard Cutter to Deploy to Great Lakes. A Connecticut-based USCG Cutter Morro BayCoast Guard cutter is scheduled to deploy to the Great Lakes Nov. 29, 2010, to assist in the service's icebreaking mission there throughout the winter months. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, an 140-foot icebreaking tug, will arrive in the Great Lakes region a few weeks after it departs its homeport of New London, Conn. Coast Guard  


Federal Interagency Group Issues Peer-Reviewed 'Oil Budget' Technical Documentation: Oil Spill Calculations Released in August Undergo Further Review. The Federal Interagency Solutions Group, established at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard and authorized under a directive from the National Incident Commander (NIC), is releasing today a peer-reviewed report that details the scientific calculations of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill "Oil Budget Calculator" response tool announced last August. The report, developed in collaboration with federal and independent scientists and following an extensive review of the initial findings, revises as necessary the estimated short-term fate of the oil discharged from the wellhead through mid-July when the well was capped.  NOAA


Secretary Locke Criticizes Escalation of Icelandic Whaling. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on Iceland's decision to resume international trade in fin whale meat, and its escalation of commercial whaling outside of the control of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Iceland killed 273 endangered fin whales in the last two years. IWC scientists fear removing more than 46 fin whales per year from the population is unsustainable. There is currently a global moratorium on commercial whaling, and a ban on international trade in fin whale meat. "The United States strongly opposes Iceland's defiance of the commercial whaling ban. We urge Iceland to cease international trade of whale meat and work with the international community to safeguard whale species," said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. "It is troubling that Iceland continues to pursue commercial whaling outside the boundaries of the IWC, without member oversight or analysis by the Commission's scientific committee." Department of Commerce


Researcher Back to Study Aboriginal Health.  Beaufort Delta residents could soonAK Native family drawing have more of a say when it comes to new health programs or research they'd like to see offered in the region.  Nutritionist Sangita 'Gita' Sharma, the former lead researcher for Healthy Foods North, is now a professor of aboriginal health at the University of Alberta and was recently appointed the school's endowed chair in aboriginal health. Northern News Services


Canadian Climate Research Fund Drying Up. The federal funding that supported most university-based weather and climate research for the past decade has almost run out, and there is no sign it will be renewed. The Ottawa-based Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, launched under prime minister Jean Chr