US Arctic Research Commission
February 25, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have recessed for the President's Day district work week.


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.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Senate Dems Search for Cuts of Their Own in Bid to Avoid Shutdown. Senate Democrats on Thursday began identifying cuts to the 2011 spending bill that they plan to propose to House Republican leadership in the coming days in order to avert a government shutdown after March 4. An aide said that that Democrats will put the cuts into a proposed seven-month continuing resolution "in the spirit of trying to narrow the gap" between House Republicans and Senate Democrats over this year's spending. The Hill


Scientists: Oldest Human Found in Alaska is a Child, Cremated 11,500 years ago. Some 11,500 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, a child died near a river in what is now central Alaska. The people living with the child in a tent-pole house - presumably the parents - placed the 3-year-old's body in their home's cooking pit and lit a fire. After two to three hours of burning, the family covered the remains with dirt and left. That's the dramatic story emerging from the study of the oldest human remains ever found in Alaska - and some of the oldest in all of North America. Washington Post


Murkowski Vows to 'Throw Some Elbows' to Ensure Alaska Oil Production. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Thursday called boosting Alaskan oil production her top priority and claimed that Middle Eastern turmoil and rising prices put drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) "back on the table." Oil production is central to Alaska's economy. Murkowski used a speech to Alaska's legislature to warn that the massive Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) will shut down if production declines continue and the industry cannot access new fields in her state. The Hill 


Study Highlights Benefits of Arctic Ocean Drilling. Shell Oil is touting a report it commissioned that says outer continental shelf petroleum development off Alaska's northern shores could create 54,700 new jobs that could be sustained for 50 years. The study was released Thursday by Northern Economics Inc., an Anchorage-based firm, and the University of Alaska's Institute of Social and Economic Research. It comes one day before the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement conducts a scoping meeting in Anchorage to take public testimony on its plan for offshore drilling over the next five years. Bloomberg 


Arctic Security More Than Sovereignty. At first glance it conjures up notions of border security and military operations. However, a recent public opinion survey, Rethinking the Top of the World: Arctic Security Public Opinion Survey, commissioned by the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, showed that most Canadians define Arctic security more broadly. "This project with the Munk Centre and the Gordon foundation is about Arctic security," said Graham White, professor of political science and a member of the Gordon Foundation's Northern Advisory Circle. "A lot of people assume that means Arctic sovereignty and that it's mainly about military overtones. That's a part of it but it's only a relatively small part." PhysOrg 


ICC Summit Wraps Up With Lukewarm Consensus. Circumpolar Inuit Fall Short of Common Front. The Arctic is open for business, as long as Inuit get economic benefits and exert influence over environmental protection, leaders from Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia said Feb. 24, as they wrapped up a two-day summit on resource development organized by the Inuit Circumpolar Council. "We have agreed with the leaders that we [the Canadian Arctic] are open for business - on certain issues," said Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. "We think it will be on a case-by case-by-basis [because] there are conditions that need to be met." NunatsiaqOnline


Inuit Leaders to Draft Resource Guidelines. Inuit leaders from around the Arctic say they will work on guidelines to boost regulatory standards for mining, offshore drilling and other development in the North. Representatives from Canada, the United States, Greenland and Russia announced in Ottawa on Thursday that their guidelines will be in a declaration they plan to adopt this spring on "responsible resource development principles" on Inuit lands. CBC News


Breaking an Ice-Bound U.S. Policy: A Proposal for Operating in the Arctic. The United States is losing the race to protect its own interests in the Arctic region. It is important to create a sensible policy to field an adequate fleet of U.S.-owned ice-breakers. An adequate, competent, and sustainable fleet is the key to maintaining American presence in the region, protecting U.S. sovereignty, working with allies, and rebuilding the nation's edge in global commerce. Making America more competitive at a time when Washington is looking to cut corners in federal spending requires creative solutions to demanding problems. The U.S. can jump-start its fleet by privatizing ice-breaker operations and using ships as platforms for national security and federal scientific activities. This initiative would save federal dollars by eliminating old, inadequate, and expensive-to-operate assets while greatly expanding U.S. capacity to operate in the Arctic. The Heritage Foundation


Nunavut Inuit Group Puts Uranium Policy on Hold. The president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. says she's putting her organization's uranium mining policy on hold, to ensure Inuit in the territory have been fully informed on the issue. Cathy Towtongie said there was not enough public consultation before Nunavut Tunngavik, the territory's Inuit land-claims organization, approved a policy in September 2007 that opened the territory to uranium exploration and mining. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents    


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