US Arctic Research Commission
June 30, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will vote on the confirmation of David Petraeus to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  The House is in recess.  Next week, both the House and Senate are expected to be in session.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Russia and Norway May Issue Arctic Licenses. The Russian-Norwegian agreement on delimiting the sea border and co-operation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean will come into force on July 7, 2011. A ministry spokesman said the agreement offers new opportunities for the oil and gas industry in the northern regions. Rossiyskaya Gazeta


Reid: Senate Will Stay in Next Week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that the Senate will stay in session next week to deal with the debt limit crisis. Reid said the Senate would hold its first vote Tuesday, the day after the Fourth of July, probably in the afternoon. Roll Call


Putin Says Russia Will Expand Its Presence in the Arctic Region, Remains 'Open for Dialogue.' Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will seek to expand its presence in the Arctic. Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas. Putin said in televised comments Thursday that Russia "remains open for dialogue" with its polar neighbors, but will "strongly and persistently" defend its interests in the region. Washington Post 


Season's First Oil-Tanker Sails Northern Sea Route. The sailing season along the Northern Sea Route has never started as early in the Arctic as it has this year.  Earlier this week, the Belgium-owned oil tanker "Perseverance' set sail from Mumansk toward the north east. "Perseverance" is loaded with 70,000 tons of oil condensate. Barents Observer


Putin Urges 'Big Cleanup' in Arctic. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called Thursday for a "big cleanup" in the Arctic Region to remove oil barrels and litter scattered around polar stations. "We need a really big cleanup for the region and the disposal of litter and fuel barrels, which have been accumulating around stations, military bases and northern settlements for decades," Putin told a regional conference of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party in Yekaterinburg. NIA Novosti  


Multination Arctic Exercises Planned. The Pentagon envisions multinational exercises in the Arctic between the United States and seven other countries that recently agreed to jointly conduct search-and-rescue missions in this vast region of the globe. This fall, Canada will host an initial "tabletop exercise" to help determine ways to implement the arctic search-and-rescue (SAR) agreement, according to David Balton, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans and fisheries. Defense News 


Shell President Optimistic on Arctic, Anxious to Explore but Company wants  resolution of various permits and opposition claims. Shell Oil President Marvin Odum has faith that his company can develop vast reserves in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. But he'd like to get on with exploratory drilling to tap into a resource that could be crucial to meeting the country's energy needs. "That's an area where working in Alaska has, frankly, been disappointing to us as a company," Odum said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It has taken much longer that we originally thought it would." Anchorage Daily News


Failure on Coastal Zone Management Cedes Alaska Sovereignty to Feds. [Opinion: Alaska State Representative Les Gara] I'm not a big fan of failure, and not a big fan of spending money on wasted special sessions.  I've now voted three times, including yesterday, to pass the Coastal Zone Management bill that passed the bipartisan Senate Monday, but surprisingly failed by three votes in the House yesterday.  Failure to pass the bill gave away a big piece of state sovereignty to the federal government. Alaska Dispatch


Murkowski, Begich and Akaka Bill Would Boost Alaska Village Development. Senator Lisa Murkowski today introduced the Native American Challenge Demonstration Act (NACDA) of 2011 - with co-sponsors Senators Mark Begich and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) - to create the same opportunities for America's First People that countries worldwide receive, in terms of U.S. investment. "There's a lot of talk about nation-building and sending American funds around the world to needy areas," said Senator Murkowski. "But Alaska Natives all too frequently face the same challenges of underdevelopment and infrastructure shortcomings, right here on American soil - they deserve the same helping hand." Senator Lisa Murkowski  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 1262, Native Culture, Language, and Access for Success in Schools Act (Akaka, Senate hearing scheduled)


S.1293, to direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish a demonstration program to adapt the lessons of providing foreign aid to underdeveloped economies to the provision of Federal economic development assistance to certain similarly situated individuals. (Murkowski, introduced)

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, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


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 Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of Arctic developed or developing regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The main focus of the meeting seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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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