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February 27, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate return from recess.  The Senate will consider a judicial nomination.  The House will consider several items under suspension of the rules.



Russia, Norway to Conduct Joint Naval Drills in May. The Russian Northern Fleet and the Norwegian Navy will conduct the Pomor-2012 joint drills in the Arctic in May, a spokesman for Russia's Western Military District said on Monday. The preparation for the drills will be discussed during a three-day visit of the commander of the Western Military District, Col. Gen. Arkady Bakhin, to Norway, which starts on February 27. Russia and Norway have carried out the annual Pomor naval drills since 2010 to practice interoperability in the environmentally fragile Arctic area. RIA Novosti 

Oil Drilling in AlaskaA 'Science-Based Policy" on Arctic Ocean Oil Drilling in the United States.
 On January 30th, 2012, the PEW Environment Group and the Ocean Conservancy published a joint full-page advertisement in the New York Times urging President Obama to "Base Arctic Ocean Drilling Decisions on Science, not Politics." They cite an open letter sent to the President on January 23rd and signed by over 500 scientists that argues for delaying new oil and gas activity in the U.S. Arctic Ocean until more scientific research is completed. The ad and letter implore the President and his administration to "stand by your commitment to scientific integrity". Just over two weeks after the PEW advertisement, on February 17th2012, the U.S. Department of the Interior published a press release heralding "Obama Administration Announces Major Steps toward Science-Based Energy Exploration in the Arctic".  The Obama Administration insists that the decision to move forward with development is "informed by the latest science". At the press conference, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar highlighted the various initiatives that his Department had to ensure they would bring "the best available science to energy-related decisions in the Arctic". The Arctic Institute


Moss Can Heal. The news about a miracle medicine came from the "edge of the world" - that is how the name of the Yamal peninsula translates from the Nenets language. Moss and lichens, which are in abundance in Northern Russia, have unique healing properties. Research conducted by scientists at the Yamal-Nenets Center for the study of the Arctic, show that many illnesses, including asthma, bronchitis, and chronic inflammation of the throat, commonly called angina, which affects up to ten per cent of the population of the world according to the World Health Organization, WHO, can be treated with moss and reindeer lichen. Maria Domnitskaya has prepared the following piece. The Northern peoples have known the usefulness of the moss and lichens from time immemorial. There is historical evidence of the dressing of wounds with bandages made of lichens, and according to an ancient author, Lapland mothers placed moss in the cradle, replacing it in the morning and evening, thus always keeping the child dry and warm. The Northern peoples still prepare tasty and good meals from reindeer lichen even today. The Voice of Russia


PappU.S. Coast Guard Commandant Details Arctic Security Issues. At a recent conference, a Defense Department participant said the Arctic doesn't represent a security threat for at least the next decade, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. said last week. "The Coast Guard has... a much wider aperture," he added. Papp told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service that the Arctic has economic, energy and environmental implications for national security.  Coast Guard missions there are increasing Shell Oil Co. has to drill in Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort seas beginning this summer, he said.  Shell will move 33 ships and 500 people to Alaska's North Slope, and will helicopter some 250 people a week to drilling platforms, the admiral said. That activity has the potential to increase Coast Guard workloads in pollution and environmental response, as well as in search and rescue, he noted. Defense Professionals


Getting Arctic Drilling Right. [Editorial] Oil drilling off the North Slope of Alaska now seems virtually a sure thing. This month, the Interior Department gave tentative approval to Shell's plans for responding to a potential spill in the Chukchi Sea, an important step toward approval of the company's plan to drill six wells in the Chukchi's frigid and forbidding waters. The company still needs a permit, and before the administration grants one it must be absolutely sure that Shell can meet the safety conditions stipulated in the approval. The costs of a mistake could be very high. Many environmentalists have argued against any drilling in Arctic waters, given their value to wildlife - and given weather conditions that would make cleaning up a spill especially difficult. We believe this particular project is worth the effort, but only if done right. Estimates of recoverable reserves in the Chukchi and nearby Beaufort Seas range as high as 30 billion barrels of oil, about four years' worth of consumption in the United States. Shell must meet two main conditions. The first is to complete and test a well-capping system that can quickly contain a blowout in a harsh and unfamiliar environment. Among the most searing memories left by the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was the complete helplessness of industry and government officials as a runaway well spilled nearly 5 million barrels, or 206 million gallons, before it was finally capped. New York Times


Fisheries Science Funding Levels Varied Across Entities. It's a mixed bag in America in terms of bankrolling 'the best available science' for our nation's fisheries.

Based on the preliminary federal budget released last week, funds for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration went from $4.7 billion to $5.5 billion, an increase of about $750 million. Within the NOAA budget, funding for the National Marine Fisheries Service comes in at $1 billion - a drop of $15 million from its actual budget for the last fiscal year. Out of NMFS' FY13 budget, $174 million will fund science and management of US fisheries. NMFS oversees more than 80 percent of Alaska's fisheries, which occur in federal waters from three to 200 miles from shore. The largest increase in funding -$36 million-goes to a new line item called National Catch Share programs. Industry expert John Sackton of said the agency does not predict an increase in catch share programs over the next five years. Instead, most of the money will pay for implementation, observer coverage, monitoring and other start up costs. Arctic Sounder


You've see the Academy Awards, now an award winning Arctic film... "People of a Feather," a film about survival in a changing Canadian Arctic. Check it out here.


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered on Friday.

Future Events                                   



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.


The Science of Ocean and Coastal Restoration, March 7, 2012. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership will hold a Public Policy Forum in the Capitol Hill Visitors Center (Room SVC 210/212) on Capitol Hill. This year's theme is the science of ocean and coastal restoration. The Forum will begin at 8:30 a.m. and features 3 panels with various panelists from around the country and remarks by several Members of Congress. Invited speakers include EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senator Begich, Senator Cardin and USARC Chair Fran Ulmer. Details here.  


Fiscal 2013 Budget: Native American Programs, March 8, 2012. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2013 budget request for Native American programs.


Fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization: Southern and Northern Commands, March 13, 2012. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Northern Command in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal 2013 and the future years' defense program. The session may be closed.


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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