US Arctic Research Commission
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January 27, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents

 

The Senate will continue to consider rule changes.The House is not in session.

 

Congressional Response to National Congress of American Indians Annual "State of Indian Nations Address." Sen. Lisa Murkowski will give the congressional response to the National Congress of American Indians annual "State of Indian Nations Address." The speech will be delivered to tribal leaders, U.S. government officials and members of the National Congress of American Indians.

 

Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conferenceseesaw considering the following topics: Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic;  Marine ecosystems and fisheries; Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives; and People of the North. 
 

 

Media Reviewtodaysevents  

Arctic Short-cut Shipping to Leap in 2011- Russia. Russia predicted on Tuesday a surge in voyages on an Arctic short-cut sea route in 2011 as a thaw linked to climate change opens the region even more to shipping and oil and mining companies. High metals and oil prices, linked to rising demand from China and other emerging economies, is helping to spur interest in the Arctic and the route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as an alternative to traveling via the Suez canal. Reuters

Begich Introduces Comprehensive Arctic Oil Spill Bills: Legislation also provides revenue sharing for Alaska for offshore development. As a leading begichadvocate in the U.S. Senate on Arctic issues and a key player in discussions about a comprehensive national energy plan, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has introduced three bills designed to accommodate safe and responsible oil and natural gas development in the Arctic. All three bills promote responsible development by initiating comprehensive Arctic oil spill research and planning and requiring transport of oil ashore via pipeline. The third bill also provides Alaska with revenues from offshore development, a provision currently given to states in the Gulf of Mexico. Senator Mark Begich 

Experts Seeks Arctic Climate Early Warning System. Scientists sought on Wednesday to pin down triggers for abrupt climate shifts in the Arctic, such as a feared runaway melt of Greenland's ice sheet, to create an early warning system for governments. "We need leading indicators to see when we are approaching a threshold so that we can stop before we reach it," Carlos Duarte, a professor at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, told a conference on "Arctic Frontiers" in Norway. Reuters 

Staking Claim in the Arctic. Defining boundaries and jurisdiction in the Arctic has long been a contentious subject between countries, eager to lay claim to parts of the resource-rich region. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows the U.S., Russia, Norway, Denmark and Canada jurisdiction over areas of the Arctic spanning a maximum of 200 nautical miles from their coastlines. The boundaries can be expanded if a country can prove the ridges and rock formations beneath the ocean's surface are connected to its underwater land extension, known as the continental shelf. CBC News
 

Spill Commission Co-chair Endorses Exploratory Arctic Wells. One of the leaders of the President's Oil Spill Commission endorsed Shell's plan on Wednesday to drill an exploratory well in the Arctic, even though he admits spill research is inadequate.  Co-chair William Reilly told the Senate Energy Committee today that he believes Shell's Beaufort Sea proposal is in his words, "as good as I have ever seen." Environmentalists and some locals strongly disagree, and are fighting the drilling plans, saying there's not enough information about cleaning up oil in the Arctic, and that a spill could be disastrous to wildlife. APRN
 

Meth Abuse- A Creeping Cordova Problem. Methamphetamine is a problem in crystalmethCordova, and the evidence is mounting. Results from a statewide survey conducted in 2009 by the Alaska Meth Education Project and recently published in the Alaska Justice Forum indicate that although meth is perceived as high-risk, an overall growth in meth use in 2009 reverses a downward trend that began around 2000. The largest number of meth users is 18-25 years old, and the percentage of 12th graders in Alaska who have tried meth at least once in their lifetime, increased from 3.2 percent in 2007 to 4.5 percent in 2009 compared with 4.1 percent nationwide. The Cordova Times

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate.  Yesterday, the President sent several nominations to the Senate, including: Philip Coyle, III, to be an associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Scott Doney to be the chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Rebecca Dye to be a federal maritime commissioner. The White House 

Murkowski Comments on the Future of Arctic Exploration. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following comments regarding the future of oil and gas development in the Arctic following a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission's final report:  "The United States is an Arctic nation because of Alaska. We cannot ignore the fact that Russia will drill in the Chukchi Sea in coming years and that Canada is already exploring the Beaufort Sea. Alaska cannot be forced to sit in the middle of this activity - bearing all the same risk but none of the reward - while our pipeline runs dry and our jobs disappear." Senator Lisa Murkowski

New Assistant Administrator for NOAA Ocean Service: Lubchenco Names Kennedy Permanent NOS Chief. David Kennedy has been named NOAA assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service effective immediately. He has served in an acting capacity since January 2010 when John Dunnigan was named a senior policy advisor to the NOAA administrator. The announcement was made today by undersecretary of commerce and NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco. "David has served both NOAA and the nation exceptionally well in his NOAA career, and in particular over the past nine months as the overall NOAA response coordinator for the  BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill response," said Lubchenco. "His overall experience, coupled with a leadership approach that promotes teamwork to effectively deal with issues are important attributes as we face tremendous challenges in the ocean and coastal environment. I am delighted he has agreed to fill this important position." NOAA

DOE and DOC Announce New Partnership to Further Cooperation on Renewable Energy Modeling and Forecasting. The Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce today announced a new agreement to further collaboration between the agencies on renewable energy modeling and weather forecasting, which will help enable the nation's renewable energy resources to be used more effectively by business and entrepreneurs. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by Acting Under Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., will encourage the two agencies to work together to develop and disseminate weather and climate information needed for renewable energy technologies that are dependent on short-term weather and longer-term climate trends. Better information on weather patterns and improved modeling of the variability of the wind, sun, water, ocean currents and other sources of renewable energy will ultimately increase the country's ability to efficiently and reliably integrate renewable energy into the electrical grid. NOAA

Legislative Actionfutureevents
 

S. 203, to direct the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to institute research into the special circumstances associated with oil spill prevention and response in Arctic waters, including assessment of impacts on Arctic marine mammals and other wildlife, marine debris research and removal, and risk assessment, and for other purposes (Begich- introduced and referred to committee)

 

S. 204, to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to permit funds in the Oil Spill Liability Trust to be used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coast Guard, and other Federal agencies for certain research, prevention, and response capabilities with respect to discharges of oil, for environmental studies, and for grant programs to communities affected by oil spills on the outer Continental Shelf, and to provide funding for such uses and for other purposes (Begich- introduced and referred to committee)

 

S. 205, to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that oil produced from Federal leases in certain Arctic waters be transported by pipeline to onshore facilities and to provide for the sharing of certain outer Continental Shelf revenues from areas in the Alaska Adjacent Zone (Begich- introduced and referred to committee)

Future Eventsfutureevents
    

President's Budget, February 7. By statute, the president is required to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.
 
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.
 

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 504-s@diplo.de.
 

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