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December 9, 2011


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session. 


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting is underway to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals.



Media Reviewtodaysevents  



Coast Guard SealThe Coast Guard Needs New Icebreakers to Protect U.S. Interests in the Arctic. Dramatic climate change in the Arctic is rapidly diminishing the polar ice cover, exposing serious environmental, economic and security issues across the top of the world. Ecological upheaval is producing a long coveted Northwest Passage for shipping, with all its opportunities and complications. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, is working to focus congressional attention on giving the U.S. Coast Guard the ability to protect America's interests. As the ranking member of the House Transportation subcommittee on the Coast Guard, and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he is well positioned to do so. Seattle Times 


AK Native family drawingIndian Affairs Panel Approves Bill on Tribal Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence. A Senate panel backed a bill Thursday that would grant American Indian tribes greater authority to respond to violent crimes against Native American women, expand support programs to eligible family members, and institute data-gathering programs on sex trafficking. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved the bill (S 1763), sponsored by Chairman Daniel K. Akaka, by voice vote. The measure would expand tribal jurisdiction over domestic violence and sexual assault against American-Indian women to include acts committed by non-Native American offenders. The measure also would seek to improve victim protection and information gathering on sex trafficking. Congressional Quarterly



Delegation Wants Equal Treatment for Alaska's Fisheries. Alaska's Congressional Delegation today sent a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator - making the case that Alaska's waters should receive the funds necessary to improve operations, while similar endeavors are being funded on an ongoing basis in New England and on the West Coast. "You have made commitments to fund observers in other regions while they transition to catch share programs," wrote the Delegation.  "We are concerned funding observers in these regions might jeopardize your ability to provide start up funds for the restructured North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program.  Meanwhile, the burden imposed on fishermen in Alaska's small boats and 60-foot to 125-foot vessel fleets would be unwarranted." Senator Mark Begich 


More Alaskans Join Begich Staff. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is rounding out his policy and legislative team with four new Alaskans joining his DC staff. Lifelong Alaskan Andrea Sanders has joined Begich's staff as the legislative assistant for Alaska Native and rural affairs. Sanders grew up in Bethel and Quinhagak, attended high school at West High in Anchorage and received a BA in government from Georgetown University. A tribal member of the Native Village of Kwinhagak and Orutsararmuit Native Council, Sanders has worked as an associate policy analyst for the Alaska Native Policy Center at First Alaskans Institute; a land manager for the Native Village of Kwinhagak; a land law examiner for the Bureau of Land Management; and an administrative assistant for the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects. Senator Mark Begich 



WalrusUS Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA's Fisheries Service Propose Policy to Improve Implementation of Endangered Species Act. A new federal policy proposed today will help clarify which species or populations of species are eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act and will provide for earlier and more effective opportunities to conserve declining species. The public is invited to comment on the policy, proposed by the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Comments will be accepted for the next 60 days. NOAA  



Arctic Biting Back Over Mercury Pollution. In the Arctic, there are high concentrations of mercury in humans and animals, and scientists are investigating how the mercury got there. Mercury has a tendency to accumulate in organisms and bio-magnify (increase in concentration) up through the food chain,  so monitoring its levels in the environment is important.  In previous investigations, polar bear organs, such as the liver and kidney, as well as hair and blood, have been analysed for mercury content, but the results can be inaccurate because soft tissues change throughout the lifetime of the animal. Chemistry World 





HarperHarper Names New Boss for CanNor Agency. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Dec. 8 that Patrick Borbey, a senior assistant deputy minister at Aborginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, will start work Dec. 19 as president of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. CanNor's last full-time president, Nicole Jauvin, retired this past summer, but stayed on as an advisor until a successor could be found. Borbey, who holds an MBA and a bachelor of social science degree from the University of Ottawa, has, since 1997, held a series of senior positions at AANDC, Health Canada, Transport Canada and Foreign Affairs. Nunatsiaq News





Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


National Science Foundation Town Hall Meeting, December 7. The Arctic Sciences Division (NSF) will hold a Town Hall Meeting from 12:00 - 1:30 pm in the ARCUS community room (San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Pacific Room J). Note the change from the AGU program book. The Deputy Director and Program Officers will discuss the Division's portfolio, some recent awards, future directions, and--most importantly--take questions and hear comments from the community. If you have questions, contact


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Workshop: Responding to Arctic Environmental Change: Translating Our Growing Understanding into a Research Agenda for Action Jan. 30-Feb. 1.  

Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Co-sponsored by International Study of ArcISAC logotic Change (ISAC) and the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. Endorsed by the International Arctic Science Committee, this workshop is the first in a planned series of meetings that aim to collectively shape and coordinate initiatives for research that directly addresses the needs of stakeholders who are affected by change or who are addressing arctic environmental change. The long-term objective is to enable local people, the arctic nations and the wider global community, including the scientific community, to better respond to a changing Arctic. This workshop is a pre-IPY 2012 Conference event. It is intended to develop a science plan that will feed into and further evolve at IPY 2012 Conference "From Knowledge to Action". For more information and to register for the workshop go here. 


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Details to follow.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities, state, national and international leaders, the heads of shipping and industry, as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World , October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.


White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  

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