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February 28, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Behind the scenes, senators are negotiating the final amendments to the surface transportation authorization bill. The House is also working on a new highway bill. The week, cabinet members are expected to testify on the President's fiscal 2013 budget request.



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   


NarwhaleNunavut Tunnagavik Joins Narwhal Consultations. The federal government will visit nine communities next month to discuss harvest levels for narwhal and gain feedback on a management plan; Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) has announced it will participate as well. Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will travel to Pangnirtung, Qiqiktarjuaq, Clyde River, Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord, Iqaluit, Kugaaruk and Repulse Bay next month as they prepare a draft Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for narwhal. Northern News Service  


Much More Tsunami Debris Expected to Reach N. America. Tsunamis generated by the magnitude-9 earthquake in Japan last March dragged 3 million to 4 million tons of debris into the ocean after tearing up Japanese harbors and homes. Scientists believe ocean currents are carrying some of the lumber, refrigerators, fishing boats and other objects across the Pacific toward the United States. One to 5 percent of the 1 million to 2 million tons of debris still in the ocean may reach Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon,  Washington, and British Columbia, said University of Hawaii senior researcher and ocean current expert, Nikolai Maximenko. That's only a portion of the 20 million to 25 million tons of debris the tsunamis generated altogether, including what was left on land. Anchorage Daily News 


Melting Arctic Linked to Snowier Winters in US, Europe. If an ice floe disintegrates off Barrow in September, will 29 inches of snow whomp Great Kill in New York state come December? Will a blizzard strike Dublin, Ireland, in November? Might we call this the "polar bear effect?" In what might seem to be a climate-change paradox, recent Arctic warming may be causing more brutal winters in locales far removed from the polar sea, according to a new study led by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology. These findings, published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the Arctic's summer meltdown has the climactic power to reach across months of time to wallop people living thousands of miles south with blizzards and snow-clogged roads. Alaska Dispatch 


USCGlogoCoast Guard Commandant Talks Arctic Security, Alaska Infrastructure. According to the Armed Forces Press Service, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. discussed Arctic security and challenges facing Alaska-based Coast Guard units as activity in the Arctic continues to increase. Adm. Papp said the Coast Guard's responsibility in Alaska's Arctic will be greater than ever when Shell Oil Co. begins drilling exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, scheduled for next summer. For the first time in the Coast Guard's 150-year history in Alaska, he said, responders will need to be stationed on the North Slope, AFP reports: "We'll take one of our brand-new national security cutters ... as the Shell fleet proceeds up there to start their activities," the Admiral said. That cutter will serve as a movable operations center, with worldwide communications, a two-helicopter flight deck and three boats that can launch boarding teams, Papp said. Alaska Dispatch


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered on yesterday.

Future Events                                   


APPROPRIATIONS: Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, February 29, 2012. The Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies of the Senate Appropriations Committee will hear testimony by Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar on the president's FY 2013 budget request.   


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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