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February 8, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may file a cloture petition to proceed to consideration of the surface transportation authorization bill. The House will consider legislation to consolidate, sell or exchange excess properties. 



NOAANOAA Grapples with Uncertainty Over Obama Reorganization Plan. When President Obama last spring released a video soliciting ideas on modernizing government to better compete in the 21st century economy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was about to get thrown into the mix. "Move NOAA from DOC to DOI," read a suggestion tagged No. 1979 and ranked No. 1439 in the White House compilation. "I think it paints a bad picture when we are supposed to be managing and conserving marine resources and we are under the Department of COMMERCE" rather than the Interior Department, an anonymous NOAA employee said in the submission. Months later, after a lengthy consultation process, such a transfer ended up a part of the Obama administration's proposal to seek congressional approval of authority to consolidate six major business and trade agencies. Government Executive


caribouWining, Dining, Pipelining. Rep Louie Gohmert, patron saint of amorous wildlife? The Texas Republican, who's not known as a champion of animal rights, says his primary concern in the development of a massive Alaskan oil pipeline is the love lives of the caribou surrounding the project. Gohmert launched into a lecture during a House Natural Resources Committee meeting last week about the need to protect the poor caribou. But here's the catch: The evil force against which he wants to defend the creatures is the halting of the flow of oil through the pipeline. That, he says, would be akin to throwing cold water on what sounds like a randy spring-break party happening among Alaska's caribou population. Washington Post


Obama Administration Outlines Arctic Energy Policy Initiatives. Obama administration officials announced a series of initiatives that they said are aimed at bringing the best available science to energy-related decisions in the Arctic. The initiatives include development of an Arctic environmental emergency response mechanism by this summer, they told the Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage. A third initiative will continue efforts which the DOI official and Arctic Research Commission Chairman Fran Ulmer began in December when they convened top federal policymakers and federal scientists to discuss ways to improve the delivery of relevant scientific information to officials responsible for Alaskan energy development decisions. Hayes noted that he and Ulmer will hold a second meeting this spring with scientists, non-governmental organizations, oil and gas officials, Alaska Natives, and state and federal decision-makers to enhance collaboration. The meeting will facilitate dialogue and collaborative science planning  between and among the scientific community and federal agencies involved in oil and gas development decisions, he explained.  Oil and Gas Journal


Arctic MapUS, Canada See Continental Block Arctic Council. The United States and Canada should march in lockstep at the Arctic Council, as the US helps to develop natural resources in Canada's North, say Canadian and US officials. "We look forward to developing a common agenda at the Arctic Council, which we can advance during these four years of a shared North American chairmanship," said Richard Steffens, Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the US Embassy. Mr. Steffens was speaking as part of a Feb. 3 panel at Northern Lights 2012, a four-day conference in Ottawa focusing on the Arctic and the North. The panel also featured the heads of mission of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, as well as Canada's senior Arctic official, Sheila Riordon. Embassy


[Canada] Embedding with the Military for 'Arctic Ram.' [Blog] It can get down to -60 C in the tents at night, Canadian Military officials warn journalists interested in embedding for the northern training mission Arctic Ram. Well, with the winter Canada's been having so far, I'm not too worried. The lowest it's forecast to go this week is -26 C. Bring it on ...  maybe? About 1,500 troops, mostly from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, are heading north to train in winter parachute jumping and other cold-weather winter warfare skills. I and photographer Ryan Jackson will be joining them from Feb. 13 and spending two nights sleeping in tents and watching their work. Edmonton Journal


Oil Drilling in AlaskaBSEE and NOAA to Complete Arctic Oil Spill Response Mapping Tool. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today they are partnering to enhance the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA