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October 17, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



The Senate is expected to consider FY 2012 funding vehicles.  The House is in recess.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


With Powerboat and Forklift, a Sacred Whale Hunt Endures. The ancient whale hunt here is not so ancient anymore. "Ah, the traditional loader," one man mumbled irreverently. "Ah, the traditional forklift." That morning, the first of the annual fall hunt, a crew of Inupiat Eskimos cruising the Arctic Ocean in a small powerboat spotted the whale's spout, speeded to the animal's side and killed the whale with an exploding harpoon. By lunchtime, children were tossing rocks at the animal's blowhole while its limp body swayed in the shore break like so much seaweed. Blood seeped through its baleen as a bulldozer dragged all 28 feet of it across the rocky beach. At one point, one man, not Inupiat, posed beside the whale holding a small fishing rod, pretending for a camera that he had caught it on eight-pound line. New York Times 


The CCS Project on Climate and Conflict. The CCS Project on Climate and Conflict (CCS/PCC) is a new project hosted and sponsored by the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies (CCS) at the Naval Postgraduate School. The project continues the work of the Arctic Security Project, pioneered by CCS web commando and editor Barry Zellen, expanding its ongoing study of climate and conflict to the global level. CCS is the result of a collaborative effort to provide current open source information to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT), mission commanders, academics, and the general public. Covering tribes, politics, trends, and people, the CCS website - a 21st century gazetteer - provides data, analysis, and maps not available anywhere else. The CCS Project on Climate and Conflict expands the mission of CCS to include the new and pressing strategic challenges associated with global climate change. The Naval Postgraduate School 


CantorHouse Republicans call for termination of NSF Grants for Arctic Research. Congressional Majority Leader Eric Cantor's website, YOUCUT, includes a video of Congressman Joe Walsh proposing elimination of Arctic research grants by the National Science Foundation.     


Congressman Walsh's video is below, and here

Congressman Joe Walsh Announces This Week's Winning YouCut Item 
Congressman Joe Walsh Announces This Week's Winning YouCut Item

STATEMENT in response by USARC's Chair, Fran Ulmer: "Improving the effectiveness of federal spending is indeed important, but as the Chair of the USARC, I disagrees with Congressman Walsh's proposed cutting of support for Arctic research grants at the National Science Foundation. Now, perhaps more than ever, Arctic research, such as that supported by the National Science Foundation, is critically important to the United States. Research provides the observations and understanding of the Arctic region, and the people that live there, so that resource managers and policy makers ranging from the Department of State to the National Security Staff, are given the information necessary for them to make sound decisions, and to respond according to regional issues that impact the entire country. The Arctic is changing faster than any other place on the planet. To ensure responsible resource development (oil, gas, minerals, fisheries, forestry), information from scientific research is critically needed, and to ignore this need would be tantamount to dereliction of duty. It's a small expenditure with a tremendous return on investment."  


Alaska Priorities Outlined to Deficit Super Committee: Begich highlights oil & gas industry, military, tax reform. Sen. Begich is urging the committee to respect Alaska needs, including resources to build and manage a 21st century Arctic, including equipping the Coast Guard with icebreakers and maintaining NOAA's polar-orbiting satellites. Alaska Business Monthly 


Murkowski: Critical Alaska Projects in 2012 Interior Bill. A number of key projects and priorities for Alaska are contained within the final draft of the 2012 Senate Interior Appropriations bill, made public today.  Senator Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Republican on the Committee today made the following statement: "Today, Chairman Reed and I released a draft version of the Senate Interior bill to the public on the Senate Committee on Appropriations website," Murkowski said. "This is a very important piece of legislation for the State of Alaska, since the Department funds the four major federal land management agencies in our state - as well as critical agencies that provide services to Alaska Natives. This will serve as a starting point for negotiations with the House on its version of the bill." Alaska Business Monthly 


AK Native family drawingAlaska's Natives Gather for Largest Convention. This week, however, the Inupiaq musher is taking a break. Like thousands of Alaskans from towns and villages across the state, Baker is headed to Anchorage for the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. Not only the largest annual gathering of Alaska Natives, the three-day meeting is the biggest regular convention of any kind in the state, the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau said. Alaska's mega-meeting, in other words, is back in town. The conference begins Thursday at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center downtown with Baker making the keynote speech. The related First Alaskans Elders and Youth Conference begins today. The visitors bureau expects about 4,200 people to visit the city for AFN while the First Alaskans Institute anticipates about 1,300 for the elders and youth gathering, where people young and old will talk about the past, present and future of Alaska Native culture and language. At this year's convention, Murkowski plans to hold a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The topic: Alaska's devastating youth suicide rate. Anchorage Daily News 


Settle Hearing on Steller Sea Lion Recovery. The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing in Seattle Monday on the recovery of the Steller sea lion in Alaska waters. The committee headed by Washington Congressman Doc Hasting and including Alaska Congressman Don Young is looking at whether science supports cod and mackerel fishery restrictions in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The Seattle Times 


Governor Parnell Meets with Department of Defense Officials. Governor Sean Parnell and Adjutant General Tom Katkus met with several senior military leaders in Washington, D.C. to discuss how Alaska can help our nation meet its national security objectives. This can be accomplished through Alaska's strategic geographic position, and our vast land, sea, air, and space military training opportunities. The governor offered assistance and resources to better accomplish Department of Defense missions in and through Alaska. Alaska Business Monthly 


begichIs the U.S. Prepared for a Changing Arctic? [by Senator Mark Begich] The summer of 2011 marked the second-lowest ice coverage on record for the Arctic Ocean. As permafrost thaws and sea ice retreats, storm waves are eroding shorelines of Alaska coastal villages. A changing climate is also shifting fishing grounds and wildlife migration routes. Rural Alaskans, largely dependent on subsistence hunting and fishing and resource development, are hard-pressed to meet the financial challenges of repairing or adding new roads, ports, harbors, and other community infrastructure. With these challenges also comes opportunity. The reduced ice pack is opening new polar shipping routes which could cut distances between Europe and Asia by 40 percent. Arctic shipping is already on the increase, and scientists predict ice-free Arctic shipping routes in summers in just a few decades. National Journal   


Toxins Foul Arctic Ocean Food Chains, Threaten Polar Bears. Polar bears are ailing as industrial pollutants move north to the Arctic from industrialized zones via air and sea currents, Danish researchers say. The toxins primarily absorbed by the ocean food chain infect polar bears as they are the peak predators in the Arctic Ocean food chain. International Business Times  


caribouSome Arctic Canadian Caribou Diagnosed with Hoof Rot. Hunters around Rankin Inlet, an Inuit hamlet on Kudlulik Peninsula in Nunavut, Canada, are concerned about caribou they've seen limping. Some hunters have caught caribou which appear to have swelled-up hoofs. Jack Kabvitok is the Chair of Hunters and Trappers organization in Rankin Inlet. Kabvitok says it appears most of the affected animals are cows with calves, and he's encouraging hunters to kill them. "Some hunters who have spotted them have said to kill them or to bury the carcass, because when you see a live animal suffering, you feel for them," said Jack Kabvitok, chair of the Rankin Inlet Hunters and Trappers Organization. "It's not a pretty sight. I think it's better if we put them out of their misery." Nunavut government biologists believe it's a disease called hoof or foot rot, which usually affects weak and crippled caribou. Alaska Dispatch 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2150, National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act (Hastings, placed on Union Calendar)

Future Events                                   


Alaska Federation of Natives, October 20-22. The AFN Convention (October 20 to October 22) is the largest representative annual gathering in the United States of any Native peoples. Delegates are elected on a population formula of one representative per twenty-five Native residents in the area and delegate participation rates at the annual convention typically exceed 95 percent. Each year the AFN Convention draws between 4,000-5,000 attendees. The proceedings are broadcast live via television, radio and webcast reaching a diverse audience from Barrow to Ketchikan, from the Aleutian Chain to the Canadian border. During the convention, the entire state of Alaska is blanketed with discussion on current events and issues. International observers are present at most meetings, both exchanging information and learning from the Alaska Native experience. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


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.

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