US Arctic Research Commission
June 23, 20113

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will continue consideration of the patent law overhaul bill. After completing work on the patent law bill, the House will move to consideration of the Department of Defense spending bill. The Senate will continue to consider legislation to streamline confirmation of executive branch nominees.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Obama to Release Oil From Strategic Reserve. The Energy Department said Thursday that it will release 30 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, citing supply disruptions from the unrest in Libya and other nations that are threatening the global economy.  The decision comes amid signs that the economic recovery is faltering - which is a political threat to the White House heading into 2012 - and concerns that high energy prices are acting as a brake on growth. The Hill


Caribou in Alberta's Oil Sands Stressed by Human Activity, Not Wolves, Research Suggests. Caribou have been dwindling in Alberta for several cariboudecades and some scientists believe they could be gone entirely in 70 years. In the area of the petroleum-rich Athabasca Oil Sands in the northern part of the Canadian province, some say they could disappear in as little as 30 years. Science Daily 

House Passes Bill Designed to Expedite Offshore Oil Production in Alaska. The House on Wednesday passed legislation that would shorten the EPA's approval process for issuing air pollution permits for offshore oil and gas development. The measure is the latest in a series of GOP efforts to expand domestic offshore oil production and target the EPA's rulemaking authority. It comes in response to decisions by an EPA appeals board that have stalled air pollution permits that Shell Oil needs for a drilling project off the Alaskan coast. Congressional Quarterly


Ambassadors Tour Alaska for Big-time Networking. It was time for the ambassadors to break for lunch. Ugandan diplomat Perezi K. Kamunanwire stood gripping a handrail inside the Mount Alyeska tram as it glided to the mountainside restaurant above. Kamunanwire watched patches of algae-covered snow through the window and wondered what the ski resort looked like in winter. Anchorage Daily News


Icebreaker for Shell's Oil Spill Response Fleet Needs Inuqiaq Name. A lucky student icebreakersfrom the North Slope Borough School District will name the new commercial icebreaker that Shell Oil will lease as part of its oil-spill response fleet in the Arctic Ocean.  The 360-foot-long, low-emission ship, under construction in Louisiana by Edison Chouest Offshore, is scheduled to launch late this summer. It will be ready for sea trials in January, said Capt. Michael Terminel, with Edison's Alaska operations. The Arctic Sounder 


Russia, Norway May Issue Barents, Arctic Shelf Licenses in 2013. Russia and Norway may start granting licenses to develop offshore deposits in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean in 2013-2014 under a bilateral sea border agreement, Russia's Natural Resources Ministry said on Wednesday. RIA Novosti   


An Icelander in Alaska. Iceland President Ëlafur Ragnar GrÝmsson looks Icelandperfectly in his element at Alyeska Resort here. His comfort level, though he is thousands of miles from his hometown of ═safj÷r­ur and being tested by the stories of bear sightings floating around the hotel lobby, should probably be expected. GrÝmsson is in his fourth consecutive term as president of Iceland and has shared his expertise on Arctic policy with more groups and more conferences than he can remember. Alaska Dispatch


Black Carbon is the Latest Environmental Battleground. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is being threatened with legal action by environmentalists again, this time over its failure to reduce black carbon that's ends up on sea ice and glaciers. The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday notified EPA of its intent to sue if the agency doesn't start taking some action within 60 days. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2291, Department of Defense Appropriations (Young, House rule for consideration considered)


H.R. 2021, Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (re: Alaska) (Gardner, agreed to in the House)

Future Events                  


Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.


13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme addresses 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 is 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, 2011. The seaduckconference 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.    


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occurs. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


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


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.


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.

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