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August 14, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.


A Crack in the Ice, August 14, 2012. Tonight, Dan Rather Reports will feature changes to ice and investment in the Northwest Passage. Report includes an interview with Lawson Brigham, advisor to the US Arctic Research Commission.

Dan Rather Reports,  
Dan Rather Reports, "A Crack in the Ice" Promo for August 14, 2012


Feds discuss Arctic Research Priorities and Processes. Drs. Cheryl Rosa (USARC), Joel Clement (DOI) and David Scott (Canadian Polar Commission), spoke in a "Week of the Arctic" session hosted by the Institute of the North, and moderated by DOI's John Payne. See the NBC televised video clip... KTUU


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds.  Increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.



Salazar, Ken Arctic Drilling Might Wait Until 2013, Interior Secretary Salazar Says. A delay in getting oil-spill equipment into the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska means that Shell Oil might not be able to start the first offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean this year as planned, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Monday. Shell is still working to meet Coast Guard requirements for its spill-containment barge, the Arctic Challenger, but "if they are not met, there won't be Shell exploration efforts that will occur this year," Salazar said sharply on a conference call from Anchorage, Alaska. Heavy sea ice in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas pushed back Shell's initial plans to begin drilling in July, but Salazar argued on Monday that Shell bears the blame for not being ready to start drilling now. "It's not the ice conditions that have held up the effort," he said. "They have not been able to get it done," he said, referring to the incomplete and uncertified containment vessel. "If they had gotten it done, they may already be up there today." Government Executive


Alaska Senators Critical of Salazar's Plan for North Slope Drilling. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar won mixed reviews from lawmakers for new plans to open millions of acres in Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas exploration while also taking steps to protect sensitive wildlife habitats and subsistence rights of the native population. The "preferred" management alternative for Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve unveiled Monday would allow for oil and gas leasing of up to 11.8 million acres, which the department describes as "the vast majority of projected oil resources" in the reserve. It also would designate areas for special protection from development activities and leave open the possibility of building pipelines and other infrastructure to move oil that may be produced offshore in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed concern that the plan would leave about half of the reserve's 23 million acres closed to oil and gas development. Congressional Quarterly


Coast Guard SealDOI Proposes New Development, Protections in Arctic. The Department of Interior on Monday proposed a mixture of new oil and gas development and environmental protections in a vast swathe of Arctic land. The department said its preferred alternative for managing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska calls for about half of the Indiana-sized land unit to be opened to oil and gas leasing. Other areas important to polar bears, seals, migratory birds and other wildlife would be protected from development. The proposed plan was welcomed by environmental activists but drilling supporters said they were unhappy. "What we want to do is make sure that we don't mess it up," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at an Anchorage news conference. Reuters 


Troubled Arctic Challenger Cited for Small Illegal Discharges. The containment vessel designed to capture oil in the event of a spill during exploratory drilling off the coast of Alaska has itself been responsible for four minor illegal fluid discharges during the last three weeks, the Coast Guard confirmed Monday. The discharges all involved hydraulic fluid and were generally limited to about a quart each time, all of which was contained and cleaned up. The fine was just $250. But the discharges signal Shell Exploration's continuing problems with the vessel, the Arctic Challenger, whose trouble-plagued retrofit in Bellingham, Wash., has delayed the launch of the first major offshore oil drilling in the U.S. Arctic in 20 years. Los Angeles Times 


Crayfish Scientists Expect to Find New Species During First Chukchi Sea Trawl Survey. The first comprehensive survey of the Chukchi Sea ecosystem got underway last week. Scientists will spend the next month collecting samples and cataloging life in the northern waters. The 143-foot Alaska Knight is normally a commercial trawler, but for this month, it's moonlighting as a scientific research vessel - with all of the accompanying baggage. "There's coolers upon coolers upon coolers and buckets upon buckets upon buckets all over this boat at the moment," says Lyle Britt, a federal fisheries biologist. Alaska Public Radio 


Obesity Rates Worse in Southern States Than Alaska, New Study Shows. Finally, a list on which Alaska doesn't lead the nation: fatness. An analysis out Monday from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives that distinction to Mississippi, where more than a third of the population -- 34.9 percent to be exact -- are obese. The South, in general, is a national leader in fat people. Alaska is a midpacker. Trust for America, which based its analysis on new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ranked Alaska No. 28. Only slightly more than a quarter of the people in the 49th state are truly fat. The CDC bases its determination on a body mass index (BMI) of 30. Alaska Dispatch  


Helsinki Yard Turns to Special Vessels for Arctic Conditions: Climate change and emerging Russian market brings new orders to Hietalahti shipyard. The Vitus Bering, a hundred-meter-long service vessel with icebreaking capabilities, is moored to the furnishing dock of the Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki. When the vessel is delivered in December to its buyer, the Russian maritime shipping company Sovcomflot, it will first sail to St. Petersburg and from there to its area of operation - the Sea of Okhotsk, north of the Kuril Islands, to service offshore gas rigs there and to protect them from ice. Helsingin Sanomat

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    



2nd Cargo Airships of Northern Operations Workshop, August 22-24, 2012. Researchers from NASA Ames Research Center will provide insights into the new technologies that form the solid engineering basis for modern cargo airship systems. Speakers from the mining, oil, and gas industries will describe their transportation challenges and how they plan to exploit cargo airships in support of their businesses. Local Alaskan air freight firms will discuss how cargo airships can complement existing air transport fleets by providing additional capability and expanding air shipping services. The world's leading developers of airships will provide design and operational details on new cargo airships they're currently developing and preparing to deploy for commercial service. Representatives from the financial community will present the many options available for what has often been the missing element of airship development and operations, funding. The website will soon be updated. 


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-27, 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.


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:

1.       Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.       Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.       Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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.  


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.

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