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June 19, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider debate on a disapproval resolution on EPA rules that have a particularly significant impact on coal-fired utilities,  and the farm bill. The House will consider a motion to instruct conferees on a conference on the highway bill.   


Nominations are requested for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) request nominations for the SCICEX Science Advisory Committee (SAC). SCICEX (Science Ice Exercise) is the US Federal inter-agency submarine Arctic science program. The SAC advises the Federal agencies on scientific priorities, makes recommendations for baseline data collection, and periodically reviews these and updates the SCICEX Phase II Science Plan. The SAC members represent the fields of sea ice geophysics, physical oceanography, biological oceanography and marine geophysics. The SAC typically meets once per year, usually at either ONR or NSF. Nominations are currently sought for a sea ice geophysicist and marine geophysicist. Nominations should include the name, scientific background and accomplishments of the nominee, and a brief statement as to why they would be a good choice for SAC membership. Experience with submarine-based science is not required. Nominations should be sent to Dr. Martin Jeffries ( and Dr. Erica Key ( no later than 31 July 2012. For more information about SCICEX, including the current SAC membership and the Phase II Science Plan, go to



Oil Drilling in AlaskaAmerica Must Tap Into Alaska's Arctic Oil. North Dakota has now overtaken Alaska in oil production, again demonstrating shale oil's ascendance - and importance - in the nation's oil supply. I lost a bet [Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell writes], and owe my North Dakota counterpart a salmon dinner. But the offshore Arctic oil potential of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, which Alaskans hope to explore this summer, could eventually put us back on top - and earn me a steak dinner. It's not about me, though. America needs to say "yes" to new Arctic oil. Politico 


BSEEBSEE Completes Safety Review Visits to Shell's Drilling Rigs, Capping Stack. As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to safe and responsible offshore energy exploration and development, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Jim Watson traveled to Portland, Ore., for a firsthand look at Shell's capping stack-a key piece of safety equipment that Shell is required to have in position in the Arctic as part of BSEE's heightened safety requirements. The capping stack is similar to the one that stopped the flow of oil from the Macondo well following the Deepwater Horizon explosion. BSEE engineers and inspectors will conduct tests on the capping stack system in the coming weeks. The Maritime Executive 


US, Russia View Arctic Environment. The United States and Russia announced plans to work together to protect the arctic environment from diesel emissions and other pollutants. Russia is trying to convince the international community that it has a greater claim to the arctic. A 1982 convention gives bordering nations the right to extend arctic claims if the government can prove its continental shelf extends beyond a 200-mile limit. Warming temperatures have melted arctic sea ice, opening new shipping lanes and exposing vast areas that may hold undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves. UPI 


russian flagRussia Kicks Off Air Force Drill in Arctic. Russian air forces on Tuesday started a military exercise in the Arctic region involving some 200 troops and about 30 warplanes, said the Defense Ministry. "About 30 warplanes including strategic bombers Tu-160 and Tu-95MC, fighters Su-27 and MIG-31, refuellers Il-78 and airborne warning and control planes A-50 take part in the exercises with over 200 servicemen participating," ministry spokesman Vladimir Deryabin told reporters. Crienglish 


ringsealGroup Announces Intent to Sue to Protect Ice Seals. A conservation organization vows to sue the federal government to protect two species of ice-dependent seals found off Alaska's northern coast. The Center for Biological Diversity on Monday gave a required 60-day notice to the National Marine Fisheries Service that it will sue the agency for missing a deadline on deciding whether to list ringed and bearded seals as threatened species because of climate change. A listing would trigger additional protections for the animals. "The time for protecting these seals is now," said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the conservation organization. Juneau Empire 


ChinaflagChina in Greenland: A Challenge for the European Union. "The Arctic is hotter than ever. Not only due to the consequences of climate change in this region, but also because of the rise of global non-regional powers in this new frontier of international relations. China is from far the most significant. Such a presence raises opportunities and challenges for future developments in the Arctic. China in the Arctic can be an enormous asset when it comes to climate research, if it leads to further international cooperation in the field of polar research, which is of strategic importance in order to get the best data to adapt to climate change and global sea level rise. The case of Greenland in the Arctic is often underestimated. This self-ruled territory of the Kingdom of Denmark is in an advanced stage of its state-building process and attracts major powers. Greenland is as large as about half of the European Union and inhabited by no more than 57,000 persons. Only 44 politicians are in charge of Greenland (including ministers, MPs and mayors)."  EurActiv 


canadian flagCanada Discontinues Arctic Trips for Foreign Ambassadors. Analysis: Late last week, the Canadian House of Commons held a 24-hour session to vote on the 2012 federal budget. After members listened to the over 800 proposed amendments, they finally voted in favor of passing the budget. It will now move on to the Senate, where it will almost inevitably pass. One of the notable cuts is the $71.8 million decrease in the annual budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Department will actually have to make do with $169.8 million less over the next three years. Alaska Dispatch 


Real Threat to Alaska Native Culture Isn't Oil Development. It's a World Without Oil. [Opinion] When it comes to oil in the north, the time has arrived for environmentalists and Alaska Natives themselves to face the fact that the gasoline that fuels the internal combustion engine long ago corrupted traditional cultural practices. That the descendants of the 49th state's aboriginal occupants have managed to hang onto and celebrate the vestiges of these traditions is a testament to Native leaders, but the sort of claim that follows here is pure nonsense: "On Alaska's Arctic coast, the Inupiat people practice the same cultural traditions that they have for thousands of years -- traditions that fuel their bodies, their spirits and their future." Those are the words of Betsy Beardsley, Director of the Environmental Justice Program at the Alaska Wilderness League, writing for Forbes magazine in an article entitled "The Case Against Drilling in Alaska's Arctic Waters." Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               



The Science of How Hunting Assists Species Conservation and Management, June 19, 2012. The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will hold a hearing on hunting and conservation. Witnesses will Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Daniel Ashe, Chairman of the Conservation Committee of Safari Club International Al Maki, Duke University Professor Stuart Primm, and Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Nick Wiley.


The Institute of the North hosts Arctic-related events. For details, go here. Three upcoming events, all in Anchorage, AK are: (a) Commercial Applications of Northern Airships, July 31-Aug 2, Federal Research: Priorities and Processes, August 13, and Northern Energy Technology and Science Fair, August 15.


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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission. Aug. 9-10. Fairbanks, AK. More info coming soon. 


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. 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.   

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