Arctic Update Header
February 13, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House will hold a pro forma session. The Senate will consider a judicial nomination.



president signingThe Week Ahead: Obama Releases Budget. President Obama will release his 2013 budget proposal on Monday, setting the stage for the next round of spending battles. Several members of the administration will travel to Capitol Hill to testify about the proposal - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither alone is testifying before four different committees this week. The Hill 


The president's FY 2013 budget can be found here


The Week at a Glance: Feb. 13-17, 2012. President Obama's fiscal 2013 budget proposals, to be released Monday morning, dominate this week's Hill schedule. The competing surface transportation authorization measures are also on the congressional agenda, with both the House and the Senate set to take up their respective bills this week. Congressional Quarterly


Legislators Head to DC on Trip to Promote ANWR Drilling: DRILLING: Senate panel faces oil tax; cellphone use at issue. A major focus of the Legislature this week will be energy as five state House members travel to Washington, D.C., to urge drilling expansions, while state senators back home discuss oil taxes. A bill co-sponsored by Congressman Don Young, R-Alaska, that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, touted as a way to spur domestic energy production and create jobs, is pending in the U.S. House. Republican Reps. Anna Fairclough, Dan Saddler, Lance Pruitt and Mike Chenault and Democratic Rep. Reggie Joule, who caucuses with the House's Republican majority, are adding their voices to those of Alaska's congressional delegation and governor in seeking action. Anchorage Daily News 


Alaska Glaciers Losing 46 Billion Tons of Ice Each Year. Alaska glaciers have been shedding about 46 billion tons of ice each year, making America's Arctic state the world's single biggest contributor to glacier-fed sea level rise outside of Greenland or Antarctica, say new estimates. Still, Alaska remains a wee player in the global ice frappe, producing only about 8.5 percent of the world's annual glacier shrinkage of 526 billion tons, according to the study, led by a team at the University of Colorado Boulder. Alaska Dispatch  


begichBegich Keeps Tabs on Arctic Development. Two high-ranking federal officials briefed Senator Mark Begich yesterday on their agency plans and process for Shell's exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas this summer. Rear Admiral Thomas P. Ostebo, Commander of the US Coast Guard's 17th District (AK), presented the Coast Guard's action plan for response to any emergencies created by this summer's drilling operations or the ever-increasing amount of international shipping traffic through the Bering Strait and off Alaska's North Slope. James Watson, Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, part of the former Minerals Management Service, discussed the final steps for approval of Shell's oil spill prevention and response plans and equipment. Senator Mark Begich  


nuunavutIn Canada's Arctic, Nunavut Communities Shrinking. Though Nunavut, a territory in Canada's eastern Arctic, is growing faster than most other parts of the country, at a rate of 8 percent between 2006 and 2011 according to census numbers released Wednesday, not all of its communities are growing. Resolute, Chesterfield Inlet, Igloolik, Rankin Inlet, Grise Fiord and Hall Beach all have fewer residents now than five years ago. The population of Hall Beach is decreasing faster than anywhere else in Nunavut. More than 100 people left that community in the past five years, for a decrease of 16 per cent since 2006. Alaska Dispatch


US Uses Russian Icebreaker to Get Fuel Supplies to Antarctica. The U.S. is relying on a Russian icebreaker to deliver supplies to its main base in Antarctica thanks to continued problems with its own shrinking fleet of the cold-water vessels. Late last month, the Russian icebreaker Vladimir Ignatyuk cut a channel through Antarctic sea ice so that a Military Sealift Command tanker - the Maersk Peary - could deliver millions of gallons of fuel to McMurdo Station. A second MSC ship, the Green Wave, also is bound for McMurdo and will need the Russian icebreaker's help to deliver supplies and equipment that will sustain the station through the harsh Antarctic winter. Stars and Stripes 


USCGlogoAs Arctic Opens Up, Coast Guard Academy Ready to Respond. With large-scale drilling in the Arctic planned for this summer, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy wants to give Coast Guard leaders the information they need to supervise the drilling and plan for more activity in the region in the coming years. The academy and the University of California's Berkeley School of Law are sponsoring a two-day conference in April on "Leadership for the Arctic." It will bring maritime safety, marine science and international law experts from around the world together at the academy to talk about the issues facing global leaders as oil companies and tourists head to the Arctic. The Day 


[Canada] Who Would be the First Arctic Responders? Southern Canadians too often assume the military are the only ones doing search and rescue in the Arctic, says Jack Kruger, an RCMP Search and Rescue coordinator based in Hay River, on the south side of the Great Slave Lake in NWT. He just came out of the bush Friday after spending three weeks training young RCMP constables to be prepared in the north. The do 80 to 100 searches every year for hunters and other lost on land or in the ocean, and that rarely get recognized, he said Saturday, trying to clear up my misconceptions about the north. Edmonton Journal


canadian flagCanada Not Taking Russia Seriously. Canada and Russia this year will mark 70 years of their bilateral relationship. It has been an eventful history, forged in the days of wartime co-operation with the former Soviet Union and witness to the often tumultuous political evolution of contemporary Russia. There have been ups and downs, from past episodic spying incidents to iconic hockey moments to fruitful scientific co-operation. Recent media reports linking the arrest of a Canadian naval officer to alleged Russian espionage activities reflect the latest bump on the road. This is what happens when the realities of the intelligence world ooze out of fissures in the usual secrecy. Appropriate action, of course, must always be taken in such circumstances, but, at the same time, strategic decisions about the value and course of the relationship between Canada and Russia must not be taken on the basis of such short-term irritants. Winnipeg Free Press


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered on Friday.

Future Events                                   


The Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, February 14 2012. The parliamentarians will discuss Arctic cooperation with the Chair of the Arctic Council Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Further on the agenda are issues including oil and gas development and the effect of climate change on human health. 


Arctic Policy Forum, February 15, 2012. This Arctic Policy Forum will feature a compelling panel discussion of the history, current issues, and future plans of IONNORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in Alaska. This Arctic Policy Forum, hosted by the Institute of the North and sponsored by the Government of Canada, will leave participants with an increased understanding of:
* A 50 year partnership and cross-border collaboration
* Arctic governance and sovereignty
* Public safety; and search and rescue
* Maritime and aviation issues related to the Arctic environment


Pew: Arctic Ocean Energy Development, February 24, 2012. The Pew Environment Group will host a panel discussion on Arctic Ocean energy development. Panelist will be Michael R. Bromwich, former director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement; Edward Itta, former mayor of North Slope Borough, Alaska; Vice Adm. Roger T. Rufe, U.S. Coast Guard (retired); and Fran Ulmer, member of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission, and now Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew's U.S. Arctic Program, will moderate. The speakers will address the challenges facing energy exploration in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, such as oil spill response, Coast Guard readiness, infrastructure needs, and how to best protect wildlife habitat and subsistence areas. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served from 8:30 to 9, and the panel will be from 9 to 10:30 at the Pew offices 901 E Street NW Washington DC 20004. Please RSVP to


Arctic Workshop, March 7-9, 2012. The Workshop is hosted by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The meeting is open to all interested in the Arctic, and will consist of a series of talks and poster sessions covering all aspects of INSTAARhigh-latitude environments. Previous Arctic Workshops have included presentations on arctic and antarctic climate, archeology, environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, soils, ecology, oceanography, Quaternary history, and more. A traditional strength of the Workshop has been Arctic paleoenvironments. Click here


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 here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether 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. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


usarc logo large

Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details to follow. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy

formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


 American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", May 2-4, 2012, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click here.  


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. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 

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