US Arctic Research Commission
February 22, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have recessed for the President's Day recess.


What's your opinion on what needs to be done to address changing conditions in the president signing 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  


House to Reid: Your Turn on CR. Majority Leader Harry Reid will have his work cut out for him next week balancing the competing demands of his caucus against a March 4 deadline to avert a government shutdown. The coming fight over the controversial House-passed spending bill will test the Nevada Democrat's hold on his smaller 53-47 majority as well as the gentlemen's agreement he struck with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on allowing a more open amendment process than in the contentious 111th Congress. Roll Call


House Spending Bill Only First Round of Long Spending Fight. It took four grueling days on the House floor, punctuated by heated debate and the consideration of hundreds of amendments, to produce the latest version of a comprehensive fiscal 2011 spending bill that would trim more than $60 billion off the government's budget. Despite all that work, House passage of the Republican-written appropriations bill (HR 1) early Saturday morning may not have moved Congress much closer to final decisions on the budget year that began Oct. 1. Congressional Quarterly


Bingaman Retirement Gives GOP Another Chance to Pick Up Senate Seat in 2012. Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced his retirement on Friday, giving Republicans another open seat pickup opportunity in 2012 - when Democrats are defending more than twice as many seats as the GOP. The five-term New Mexico Democrat, who had been favored for re-election according to recent polling data, made the announcement at 3:30 p.m. in Albuquerque. "At the end of this Congress, I will have been in public service for 34 years - four as New Mexico's attorney general, and 30 in the United States Senate," he said, according to prepared remarks. "The end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to serve. It is not easy to get elected to the Senate, and it is not easy to decide to leave the Senate." Congressional Quarterly


UN Sees Rising Risks From Climate, Toxic Chemicals. A U.N.-commissioned report says climate change is becoming a major obstacle for a 2004 global treaty aimed at cutting people's exposure to 21 highly dangerous chemicals. The report obtained by The Associated Press says the risks of exposure could increase if more stockpiles and landfills leak due to flooding or other extreme weather linked to rising temperatures. Business Week


Helsinki Runs Out of Arctic-Grade Diesel. Neste Oil in Finland said Monday it had run dry of diesel fuel tailored for use in arctic conditions in the nation's capital region. Finnish news agency STT reported Neste shipped arctic-grade diesel to southern Finland last week in anticipation of demand by vacationers driving north for a winter break. UPI


Nuclear Subs Taking Scientists on Secret Arctic Missions. To avoid detection andSCICEX take advantage of the ultimate polar route during classified missions, U.S. Navy nuclear submarines regularly cross under the Arctic. So why not do a little science on the way? Starting this year, civilian scientists from the Navy's San Diego-based Arctic Submarine Laboratory will join the crews on otherwise secret passages under the ice to gather data on phenomena that range from the effects of global warming to how changes to the Arctic could help or threaten American shipping interests. AOL News


Efforts to Meld Science, Tribal Knowledge Prepare Sound for Future Development. With climate change expected to open the gates to Arctic resource development, the U.S. Coast Guard is looking to create new vessel routing measures through the Bering Strait as more freighters steam north into the Chukchi Sea. Yet the scientific world has known little about the wildlife that plays a vital role in local diets, and thus, how to protect the animals from run-ins with ships and other activity. That's changing, at least in one area, thanks in part to Alex Whiting and the Native Village of Kotzebue. The Arctic Sounder 


Hearings on Polar Bear Status Back in Court This Week: HABITAT: Ice pack declines are key to designing them as threatened, endangered. A federal judge will hear arguments next week in a case that speaks to a central question regarding Arctic animals affected by climate warming: When is a species endangered? Polar bears were declared a "threatened" species in 2008 because of the rapid loss of the Arctic sea ice that they use for fattening up on seals, which carries them through long periods of not eating. The federal government argues that's the correct call. Anchorage Daily News

House Approved Arctic Offshore Drilling Exemption. The U.S. House has Youngapproved a spending bill amendment offered by Rep. Don Young that could aid Shell Oil in its quest to drill exploratory wells off Alaska's northern shores. Shell Alaska officials two weeks ago said the company would not drill in the Beaufort Sea in 2011 in part because they could not wait any longer for an air permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency had issued the permit but its review board granted an appeal because of limited agency analysis regarding the effect of emissions from drilling ships and support vessels. Anchorage Daily News

National Ocean Council; Development of Strategic Action Plans for the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes ("National Policy"). That Executive Order adopts the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force ("Final Recommendations") and directs Federal agencies to take the appropriate steps to implement them. The Executive Order creates an interagency National Ocean Council (NOC) to strengthen ocean governance and coordination, identifies nine priority actions for the NOC to pursue, and adopts a flexible framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes. The Federal Register


Begich Named Chairman of Oceans Subcommittee: Jurisdiction includes fisheries, Coast Guard, NOAA, Arctic. With Alaska fisheries one of the state's begichleading industries, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich was today named to chair the Senate panel with prime jurisdiction over that industry and other ocean and coastal issues. Begich was named chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The subcommittee is responsible for legislation and oversight of matters impacting our oceans, coasts, and climate, including: coastal zone management; marine fisheries and mammal management; ocean science, weather forecasting; and overseeing NOAA. The subcommittee is also responsible for overseeing the Coast Guard, whose responsibilities include defending America's maritime domain, protecting life at sea by regulating shipping and conducting search and rescues, and the enforcement of laws to support maritime commerce and protect marine living resources. Senator Mark Begich 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken yesterday.

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? University Graduate School of Business, the High North Centre for Business and Governance (affiliated with the University), the International Institute of Energy Politics and Diplomacy (MIEP) at MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia, and HBW Resources have hosted an annual Arctic Dialogue and Study Tour.  The tour brings together stakeholders from all Arctic nations (government, industries, academic, native and local peoples) to discuss issues involving resource development in the Arctic, and share common experiences, best practices and solutions. For more information contact Andrew Browning.


Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.  


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution, May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology. More information email.
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme Muskokaddresses 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 i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.  

4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16. The conference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011. The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.   


Operating in the Arctic: Supporting the US Coast Guard Challenges Through Research, Sept. 21-23, 2010. This workshop, held on at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Arctic Research Commission, explored and identified ways in which scientific research and development can improve the ability of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate and carry out its statutory missions in the Arctic region. Participation in this event included state, local and international stakeholders, academics and researchers, and USCG and other federal agency officials. A funding opportunity associated with this activity is described here.


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


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy.  The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 

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