US Arctic Research Commission
February 18, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate has recessed. The House is expected to continue consideration of legislation to fund government operations through the end of the fiscal year.


What's your opinion on what needs to be done to address changing conditions in the  Arctic Ocean and adjacent coastal areas? The federal government wants to know what actions you'd like to see included in a strategic action plan that's being developed under the auspices of the National Ocean Council, which was created when President Obama signed an Executive Order last July on National Ocean Policy. A successful plan requires participation and input from a wide range of stakeholders. To this end, the Council has created a website where anyone can submit comments. USARC encourages you to do so.


Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Saturday Session Possible as CR Debate Drags. With scores of amendments outstanding on a six-month spending measure, House GOP leaders acknowledged late Thursday that they would need at least another day to wrap up the bill before starting the Presidents' Day recess. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had hoped to send lawmakers home by 3 p.m. Thursday. But lawmakers were still slowly working late that night through hundreds of amendments to the continuing resolution, which would fund the government between March 4 and the end of the fiscal year. The GOP proposal would cut the budget by $100 billion below President Barack Obama's fiscal 2011 request. Roll Call


Senate Wraps Up for Recess. The Senate adjourned Thursday evening for the Presidents' Day recess after overwhelmingly passing a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. Roll Call


Thawing Permafrost Likely Will Accelerate Global Warming, Study Finds. Up to two-thirds of Earth's permafrost likely will disappear by 2200 as a result of warming temperatures, unleashing vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Science Daily


Public Health-Environmental Factor Caused Nunavut Tuberculosis Outbreak. A recent outbreak of tuberculosis in Nunavut, with a population infection rate 62 timesAK Native family drawing the Canadian average, points to a need to rebuild trust in public health to combat the disease, states an editorial published in Canadian Medical Association Journal. Nunavut is Canada's third territory in the eastern Arctic, created in 1999. Its population is about 30,000 people, and almost 80% are Inuit, spread over an area of more than 2 million square kilometers.  At least 100 new active cases of tuberculosis were reported in 2010 involving adolescents and young adults as well as older people. Star Global Tribune 


State Division of Commercial Fisheries Has New Director. Jeff Regnart is the state's new director of the Division of Commercial Fisheries, according to a news release. Regnart has served since 2003 as the regional supervisor for the division's central region, responsible for management and research activities in Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound. Regnart began his career with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as a wildlife technician in 1984. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 


Russia Embraces Offshore Arctic Drilling. The Arctic Ocean is a forbidding place for oil drillers. But that is not stopping Russia from jumping in - or Western oil companies from eagerly following. Russia, where onshore oil reserves are slowly dwindling, last month signed an Arctic exploration deal with the British petroleum giant BP, whose offshore drilling prospects in the United States were dimmed by the Gulf of Mexico disaster last year. Other Western oil companies, recognizing Moscow's openness to new ocean drilling, are now having similar discussions with Russia. New York Times


Begich to Lead Subcommittee Overseeing Fisheries Issues. Sen. Mark Begich, begichD-Alaska, will lead the U.S. Senate subcommittee that overseas fisheries issues, according to a news release from his office. Begich is now chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In addition to fisheries and other ocean-related issues, the subcommittee oversees the National Weather Service. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Ice Bound: Polar Icebreakers Frozen in the Federal Budget. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell highlighted an unfortunate feature of the proposed federal budget polarseaWednesday. The United States will be without a heavy ice-breaking ship for at least two years. Treadwell highlighted this news in a speech in Juneau. The announcement had come earlier that day from Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. In a message to Coast Guard personnel, Papp said the agency plans to decommission the Polar Sea this year. The Polar Sea is one of two heavy icebreakers owned by the United States government. It was taken out of operation last summer for repairs. The other big icebreaker, the Polar Star, also has been in repairs for several years and isn't expected to be ready until 2013. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Bear Hibernation Study Finds Surprises in Search foUAF_logor Clues to Help Human Health.  Call this study "Big Brother" Black Bear. In the woods of Alaska, five black bears snoozed all winter while researchers recorded every detail of their slow-motion daily drama for the first time. Cameras caught them shuffling around every day or so. Oxygen and carbon dioxide monitors kept tabs on their metabolism. Washington Post

Legislative Actionfutureevents  

H.R. 1, full-year continuing appropriations. (Rogers- considered on the House floor)


H.AMDT.64 to H.R. 1, to restore education funding authority for Alaska and Hawaiian Native Americans. (Young- agreed to in the House)

Future Eventsfutureevents      


Murkowski Alaska State Legislature Address, February 24. Senator Murkowski will deliver her annual address to the Alaska State Legislature.


Canada's Arctic Policy, February 24-25.  The Institute of the North will host a policy discussion on Canada's Arctic Policy with Consul Jennifer Loten.  The policy forum will consider the Arctic's infrastructure deficit, circumpolar environmental response capacity, and Arctic marine traffic systems.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Interior Department, March 2.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Interior.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Forest Service, March 3.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.


International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact


Arctic Dialogue & Study Tour, March 22-24, 2011. For the past four years Norway's Bod