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October 21, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is on weeklong recess and did not complete action on the "minibus" spending package. Senators will return October 31. The House ends its recess and resumes work on Monday.


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 discussions on current events and issues. International observers are present at most meetings, both exchanging information and learning from the Alaska Native experience. 


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Commerce Secretary John BrysonJohn Bryson Nomination to be Commerce Secretary Confirmed by Senate. The Senate on Thursday approved John Bryson's nomination to be Commerce Secretary despite some Republican misgivings over his environmental community ties and past support of climate change legislation. Bryson was confirmed nearly five months following his May 31 nomination after Senate leaders late Wednesday agreed to have this nomination considered on the same 60-vote threshold needed for defeating filibusters. Politico


Senate Votes Push Minibus Toward Post-Recess Passage. Senators reached a deal on a fiscal 2012 "minibus" late Thursday that would set up a Nov. 1 vote on passage of the bill. The Senate has been working through amendments to an approximately $128 billion discretionary spending package (HR 2112) since Monday. The measure combines the fiscal 2012 Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science (S 1572) and Transportation-HUD (S 1596) spending bills. Congressional Quarterly


oil spill in open oceanThe Arctic and Lessons of the Gulf. The Interior Department has been inching closer to approving Royal Dutch Shell's ambitious plans to drill for what are believed to be huge deposits of oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska. In August, it approved an exploratory drilling plan for the Beaufort Sea, and two weeks ago it upheld the validity of leases in the neighboring Chukchi Sea that had been challenged by environmental groups. The Interior Department and Shell both insist that they have learned the lessons of the disastrous BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They must prove it. The Interior Department has written tough new regulations governing drilling, including requirements for subsea containment systems to plug a runaway well. New York Times 


Ranking Member Johnson Reacts to Recent YouCut Announcement on Arctic Research

Rep. Johnson

(Washington, DC) -Majority Leader Eric Cantor Cantorrecently launched the second phase of his YouCut project which asks people to visit his website weekly and vote on a selection of line items in the budget to cut. Rep. Joe Walsh announced last week's "winner", the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Polar Arctic Research Grant Program.  The YouCut website also states that Mr. Walsh will be introducing legislation to cut this program. 


Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement in response: "We have yet to see a bill from Mr. Walsh; however, should he choose to introduce one, as Ranking Member of the Committee of jurisdiction, I look forward to participating in legislative hearings and markups on the bill.  I am certain that such hearings would highlight the importance of the research that NSF's grants help fund.  This research provides insights into ice sheets, the atmosphere, oceans, and solid earth, without which the behavior of, and changes in the global system cannot be understood. Also, due to rising temperatures and melting Arctic ice, the Arctic has recently become a geopolitical hotspot with countries such as Russia trying to stake a claim for the abundance of natural resources underneath the ice and the new fisheries and sea routes that will emerge.  Maintaining a research presence there helps ensure that the United States maintains accessibility to the Arctic and its many economically important resources." 


Fact Sheet: The United States and Norway- NATO Allies and Global Partners. President Obama hosted Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg for a meeting in the Oval Office on October 20.  The visit underscored the close ties between the United States and Norway, which are grounded in our common heritage, values, ideals and interests, including the Arctic. In the Arctic Council, the United States and Norway co-chair a task force examining the role of certain greenhouse gases (such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons) and aerosols (such as black carbon), known collectively as "short-lived climate forcers," in causing global climate change.  Together with Russia, the United States and Norway also co-chair a task force to develop an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response.  The United States welcomes that Norway will host a new permanent secretariat for the Council in Tromso. The White House 


Rural Blog: The Village. Anchorage Daily News is runninga blog on the behind-the-scenes happenings at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage. Anchorage Daily News


polar bear iceClimate Risk to Polar Bear Habitats. Climate change is set to drive a dramatic reduction in polar bear habitats in coming decades, conservationists have warned as they called for action to help the species. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), recent trends for the extent and thickness of the marine sea ice that polar bears rely on suggests it is set to dramatically shrink over the next 50 to 100 years. The Press Association 


Cantwell, Murkowski, Begich Call for Investigation of Salmon Virus Threat. U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK) introduced a bipartisan amendment that calls for an investigation of the spread of the Canadian salmon virus that poses a threat to Pacific Northwest wild salmon and the coastal economies that rely on them. The amendment, introduced last night to the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, calls on the National Aquatic Animal Health Task Force to evaluate the risk the virus could have on salmon off West Coast waters and Alaskan waters, and to develop a plan to address this emerging threat. The virus was recently detected in salmon in British Columbia, Canada. Alaska Native News


NOAA Selects Oregon State University to Lead Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies. NOAA has selected Oregon State University (OSU) to continue a federal/academic research partnership that extends NOAA's ability to study marine resources in the Pacific Northwest. The award means that NOAA will continue funding the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies (CIMRS), which was established at Oregon State in 1982, for at least five and up to 10 more years. NOAA

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2112, the legislative vehicle used to fund FY 2012 government operations for Transportation-HUD, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Agriculture. (Kingston, considered in the Senate)


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


S.AMDT. 893 to H.R. 2112, to direct the National aquatic Animal Health Task Force to assess the risk of Infections Salmon Anemia poses to wild Pacific salmon and the coastal economies which rely on them (Cantwell, proposed and agreed to)

Future Events                                   


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions. 


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


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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