US Arctic Research Commission
August 1, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate will continue debt negotiations. It appears that over the weekend, leaders from the House and Senate and the White House reached a deal. The compromise will lead the congressional agenda.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


The Week at a Glance: August 1-5, 2011. The nation bumps against the Treasury's deadline to raise the debt ceiling Tuesday, as leaders on the Hill work to push a final deal through both houses. The House might continue debating the fiscal 2012 Interior-Environment spending bill. At the end of the week, both chambers are expected to recess until after Labor Day. Congressional Quarterly


White House, Congressional Leaders Reach Debt Deal. Two days before the deadline for a possible U.S. government default, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps. CNN


Report Recommends Tapping Arctic Refuge by Drilling at its Edge. An advocacy group supported by a set of former U.S. military officers is backing a plan to tap oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by drilling a directional well just outside its boundary. In a report released to Dow Jones Newswires Monday morning, the group--Securing America's Energy Future or SAFE--proposes the Arctic pilot project, which would be a real-world test of whether oil companies could use so-called extended drilling techniques to tap reserves below the environmentally-sensitive refuge. Fox Business


Energy Board Report Finds Arctic Oil Spill Cleanup Impossible One Day in Five.rubber duck covered in oil A newly released report commissioned by Canada's energy regulator has concluded that clean-up efforts for an offshore oil spill in the Arctic could be impossible at least one day in five because of bad weather or sea ice. And a spokesman for one environmental group said that a recent U.S. study suggests even that figure could be underestimating the risk. "They may be overly optimistic," said Rob Powell of the World Wildlife Fund's Arctic program. Winnipeg Free Press


Alaska Sea Ice Study Goes Beyond the Numbers. In places where the air gets cold enough to freeze seawater, sea ice creates a world known by few people - a shifting, ephemeral, both jagged and smooth platform of white that clings to the shore for much of the year. In Barrow, people who hunt whales start packing down snowmachine trails over this blue-white dreamscape in March. The trails allow a few dozen crews to pursue and hopefully winch home a few bowhead whales in April and May. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Scientist Wants Canada to Blast Off: B.C. rocket launch site proposed. Whether Canada should have its own space-launch facility is a debate that's been making the rounds in the scientific and business communities for years without any progress being made. But that hasn't stopped Redouane Fakir as he develops a proposal to build the first-ever rocket launch site on Canada's west coast. His dream is to eventually make Vancouver Island Canada's future hub for space science and exploration - once he lines up the cash, local co-operation, and government approval. The Chronicle Herald


BOEMRE: Director says offshore oil agency not on 'witch hunt.' The following email was forwarded to Alaska Dispatch Friday, and was sent from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich to BOEMRE's Alaska regional office employees. The email is in response to recent revelations that an Arctic polar bear scientist had been suspended from his job with the Interior Department. According to the Feds, Dr, Charles Monnett's suspension was not politically motivated, and the suspension did not involve questions about his scientific integrity. Monnett claims not to know why he was suspended. Alaska Dispatch


polar bear icePolar Bear Science and the Spin Cycle. [BLOG} There's been a rush to all manner of judgments over the strange case of Charles Monnett, the biologist for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement who provided a powerful talking point for climate campaigners, including former Vice President Al Gore, with his description of several drowned polar bears spotted during an aerial marine-mammals survey in 2004 - an observation enshrined in a short paper published in Polar Biology in 2006. New York Times

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 50, Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization (Young, House hearings held)


H.R. 2580, Interior-Environment appropriations bill (Simpson, considered in the House)


S. 1063, Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act (Murkowski, Senate hearing held)

Future Events                     


13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme addresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life.


9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium is to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchanging practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011."Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hverager