US Arctic Research Commission
February 8, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider an amendment to strip NASA-related provisions from the Federal Aviation Authorization bill.  The House is expected to consider surveillance provision extensions.


Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


EPA Plans Scientific Assessment of Bristol Bay Watershed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects may affect water quality and Bristol Bay's salmon fishery, an extraordinary salmon resource for the United States. EPA initiated this assessment in response to concerns from federally-recognized tribes and others who petitioned the agency in 2010 to assess any potential risks to the watershed."The Bristol Bay watershed is essential to the health, environment and economy of Alaska," said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran. "Gathering data and getting public input now, before development occurs, just makes sense. Doing this we can be assured that our future decisions are grounded in the best science and information and in touch with the needs of these communities. We look forward to working with Alaskans to protect and preserve this valuable resource." Environmental Protection Agency

Begich's press release 

Murkowski's press release


Killer Whales Ambushing Gray Whales in Aleutians. It was early May, a time when the epic gray whale migration to the Arctic had reached the Unimak Pass entrance to the Bering Sea. A group of killer whales swam excitedly back and forth in a patch of ocean off Akatan Peninsula in the Aleutian Islands, about 650 miles southwest of Anchorage. There were four or five of them -- all members of the secretive type that hunts only marine mammals -- and they appeared highly agitated. Soon one of the 10-ton, black-and-white predators breached from the sea near a boat with human observers, riding the swell about two miles off the wild, uninhabited coast. What was going on? Alaska Dispatch


Subsistence Mapping Project Strengthens Traditional Knowledge for Future Generations. Subsistence is key to our culture and economy in the Northwest Arctic Borough. Mayor Siikauraq Whiting and the borough staff are glad to share we successfully received a $1.8 million grant to conduct a 4-year project documenting and mapping subsistence uses and habitats in our region.  The results from this important project will protect subsistence and will belong to the borough and our residents. The borough is now hiring four new staff including a Traditional Knowledge Specialist and three Subsistence Mapping Interns based in Noatak or Kivalina, Deering or Buckland, and Selawik or Noorvik. The Arctic Sounder


Obama Won't Kill BIA or IHS. If his budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service (IHS) can be used to gauge federal responsibility to Indians, President Barack Obama is measuring up okay. His first year in office, the president's first budget request for IHS was 13 percent more than President George W. Bush's 2009 request-$4.03 billion. IHS health care facilities' construction was the one item in the proposal that was decreased over the previous year, from $40 million to $29 million. For 2011, the president requested $4.4 billion, an 8 percent increase over the 2010 level appropriated by Congress. Given the constant underfunding of the agency, some advocates said that doubling the budget would be appropriate, but the requests under Obama have at least been increases, a welcome development compared to the flat or reduced numbers during the Bush administration. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act reauthorization, signed into law last year, calls for future funding to cover Indian population increases plus medical inflation. Despite Obama's willingness to trim at BIA, he is never going to support Sen. Rand Paul's proposal to eliminate it. Said Shin Inouye, a spokesman for the White House: "The president would oppose efforts to cut off all funds for the Bureau of Indian Affairs-such a step would severely impede its ability to fulfill its responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives. While we need to make tough choices to get our deficits under control so that we can be competitive in the global economy, we should do so in a responsible manner." Indian Country Today 


Arctic Not Overfished: Nunavut fishing group: UBC scientist says accurate fishing numbers are important. Under-reporting of Arctic fishing data to the United Nations is no cause for alarm, according to Nunavut's largest fisheries group. "I certainly don't think there's overfishing," Jerry Ward, chief executive officer of the Baffin Fisheries Coalition, told CBC News. He added that the Iqaluit-based fisheries group believes fishing quotas should only be increased if good science supports that kind of move. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents      


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Energy Department, February 16.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy.


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


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