US Arctic Research Commission
August 8, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Horatio Chapple, British Tenn, Killed in Svalbard Polar Bear Attack. A polar bear attacked a group of British students camping on a remote Arctic glacier as part of a high-end adventure holiday, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring four other young people Friday before a trip member fatally shot the bear. Two were hospitalized with severe injuries, according to the British Schools Exploring Society, the organizer of the trip. Huffington Post

The Arctic Development. When we speak about the Arctic development we mean first and foremost oil and gas field exploration. The major oil and gas project in the region, the Shtokman field, is the most well-heard and well-known. These oil and gas fields mean not only additional resources that are needed both here in Russian, and in Europe, and elsewhere in the world. The Voice of Russia


Northern Sea Route to be Developed. Representatives of the eight Arctic powers, including Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, are attending an international conference on board the Yamal nuclear-powered vessel in the Laptev Sea. The participants in the conference are discussing the development of the Northern Sea Route for strategic stability and equal partnership in the Arctic. Russia is going to reiterate its intention to follow the international law while implementing various projects in the Arctic. The development of the Northern Sea Route was also on the agenda of a conference in Naryan-Mar, the administrative center of Nenets Autonomous District, on Saturday. Speaking at the conference, Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev called for specific measures to modernize transport infrastructure of the Arctic: "The existing navigation and hydro-meteorological system in the Arctic secures the effective functioning of its western sector but falls short of guaranteeing a high efficiency in its eastern sector, where we have most of our potential resources. Fffective development of the region requires strategic planning within the framework of the Russian government's policies for the Arctic." The Voice of Russia


Arctic Imperative Summit Built Awareness, Will Return in 2012. More than two hundred leaders from around the globe gathered to learn and discuss the changing Arctic at the inaugural Arctic Imperative Summit last month in Girdwood, Alaska. Together we listened to experts discuss Arctic issues ranging from shipping to navigation to energy and resource development. We heard from coastal residents describe first-hand accounts of the melting Arctic and the effects it has on their day-to-day lives and cultural way of life. Leaders of the international investment community had intimate discussions with oil drillers, sea captains, politicians, scientists, and others. Alaska Dispatch


Norway, Nunavut Clash Over Shipwreck. Rather than see it preserved in a Norwegian museum, a committee in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut would rather see the Maud end its days on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Maud Returns Home, a salvage group backed by Norwegian investors, is planning a multi-million dollar expedition to restore the Maud, a 1918 polar exploration vessel once commanded by legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. The group aims to raise the wreck with special balloons, mount it on a barge and tow it through the Northwest Passage back to Norway, where it would be preserved in a museum outside Oslo. The National Post


New Russian Airship for Arctic Research. Russian engineers have designed an innovative dirigible for the exploration of the Arctic. Thanks to unique know-how, its pressure on ice during landing will be extremely weak, thus enabling it to deliver people and cargo even to half-melted ice floes. The Voice of Russia


Arctic Melting Brings Benefits. The Arctic Ocean will be almost ice-free this summer for the first time in three decades, which scientists say will have some positive impacts on the region. Measurements show the arctic had the least sea ice coverage in July ever recorded, CNN reported Saturday. "This is just part and parcel of the decline that we've seen in the overall ice extent because the Arctic is warming up," said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. UPI


caribouWhere the Caribou Roam. Most Canadians will never see one in real life, but everyone who has ever held a 25-cent coin knows what caribou look like. While the image on the Canadian quarter is not going anywhere, the same can't be said of the thundering herds of caribou that have roamed Canada's north for generations. Caribou herds, from the woodland caribou in the boreal forest and into northern Quebec and Labrador, to the barren-ground herds of caribou that roam farther north in the Arctic, have become smaller, weaker and their movements less predictable in recent years. And that has raised alarm bells among environmentalists and those who rely on the caribou as an important food source. Vancouver Sun


International Cooperation for Navy and USCG. As the Arctic climate warms and Arctic sea ice recedes, potentially opening new Arctic sea routes, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard have been engaged in discussions with other Arctic nations over how to cooperatively set rules for ocean use in the Arctic, senior officers from both of these arms of the U.S. armed forces told the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard on July 27. Rear Admiral David Titley, oceanographer of the U.S. Navy, told the subcommittee that the U.S. military, including the Navy, had recently attended an Arctic militaries roundtable meeting in Oslo, Norway, to start establishing relationships at a senior level between the military organizations of the eight Arctic nations. Petroleum News


Enviro Groups Mull Legal Challenge of Shell's ArcticOil Drilling in Alaska Offshore Drilling Plan. Environmental groups yesterday expressed unified opposition to the Interior Department's conditional approval of Shell Offshore Inc.'s plan to drill four wells in Alaska's Beaufort Sea beginning next summer and said they are considering their legal options. The groups said they believe Shell is unprepared to respond to a potential oil spill in Alaska's frigid waters and that drilling activity could divert endangered bowhead whales from critical feeding grounds. New York Times 


Enviros Raise Concerns About Political Interference, Arctic Drilling Permits in Scientist's Suspension. Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity have asked the Department of the Interior to look into whether the recent suspension of a biologist violates rules meant to protect scientific research from political interference. The news of the suspension has prompted widespread debate, with environmental groups alleging a connection to plans to drill oil in the Arctic reserve. Charles Monnett was suspended last month amid an investigation launched by Interior's inspector general. A wildlife biologist at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Monnett was co-author of a 2006 paper on drowned polar bears that helped galvanize the global warming movement. New York Times  


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.


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