Arctic Update Header
June 29, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



Today Congress is expected to clear a Conference Report on surface transportation legislation, student loan interest rates, and flood insurance. These are expiring provisions. Congress will be in recess next week.



offshore oilFights Over Oil Spill and Health Care Collide in Transportation Deal. Gulf Coast lawmakers are on the verge of seeing their two-year push to secure billions of dollars in penalties from the 2010 oil spill for restoration efforts signed into law, but it may be a bittersweet victory for the State of Louisiana. The transportation deal set for House and Senate votes on Friday includes the so-called Restore Act, which would direct 80 percent of the estimated $5 billion to $20 billion in Clean Water Act penalties that BP faces to environmental recovery in the five states affected by the spill. But conferees also cut $651 million in Medicaid funds for Louisiana to help pay for the bill. Congressional Quarterly


High Mercury Levels Prompt Health Advisory in Nunavut: "We are advising women to avoid eating ringed seal liver." You may want to think twice when slicing off a piece of ringed seal liver. Five years after the 2007-08 Inuit Health Survey examined more than 1,500 Nunavummiut for a contaminants assessment, health officials are finally advising women of child-bearing age not to eat ringed seal liver. That's because even small amounts of ringed seal liver are packed with mercury, which can cause permanent brain damage and developmental delays in children whose mothers absorb too much mercury when they're pregnant. Nunatsiaq Online


shellShell Arctic Capping Stack Passes Review. The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) says Shell successfully deployed and tested its emergency capping stack in Puget Sound. The testing was done in 200 ft (61 m) water depth. That is deeper than the proposed Arctic drilling sites Shell seeks permission to spud. If the drilling permits are approved, Shell will keep the capping stack ready to deploy on the Fennica icebreaker, which would be stationed mid-way between the proposed drill sites in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Offshore Magazine


ChinaflagChina Has Key Role in Safeguarding the Arctic. The key issue is to find a balance between exploiting and protecting natural resources. Arctic affairs can be divided into those of a regional nature and those that have global implications. Those that are regional are properly resolved through negotiations between countries of the region. China respects the sovereignty and sovereign rights of arctic countries, and hopes that they can peacefully resolve their disputes over territory and sovereignty. On the other hand, global arctic affairs need to be handled in a considered way through global governance and multiparty participation. Global issues are a challenge to humankind. They include climate change, arctic ice melting, environmental pollution, and ecological crisis. Those problems span continents and they cannot be solved by a single country or region. Instead, solving them requires nations to work together in a spirit of cooperation, with the public good uppermost in mind. China Daily 


Ice Movement Monitoring in the Arctic. e-GEOS (ASI/Telespazio), Italy, had signed a contract for the setting up of a COSMO-SkyMed Receiving Station in Sodankylš, Finland, to be operated by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) as a part of the Finnish Ministry of Transportation and to become operational before the end of 2012. This agreement will provide Finland with COSMO-SkyMed direct reception capabilities over the Baltic and a large part of the Arctic areas to monitor ice formation and movements and Arctic changes. HydroInternational


polar bear icePressure Grows on Obama Administration to Protect Polar Bears. What's the best thing we can do to help polar bears survive in a changing Arctic climate?  Give them as much time as possible so that maybe, just maybe, human beings can get a grip on global warming before the polar bear's sea ice habitat disappears entirely. And what's the best way to buy the polar bear more time--say, through the end of this century?   End the commercial hunting of polar bears for profit. The United States is in a position to help lead the world in doing just that at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).  There's every reason to expect the United States to lead here.  Two years ago, President Obama sponsored a CITES resolution to end international commercial trade in polar bear parts.  But for some reason, the Administration seems to be waffling and calls for Presidential action are growing. Natural Resources Defense Council

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


healthmeetinglogo15th 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 indigenous 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.


98th meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 9-10, 2012. Fairbanks, AK. For more information, go to USARC 98th Meeting Draft Agenda 


Week of the Arctic, August 13-18, 2012. The Arctic is front and center in peoples' minds-increased maritime traffic and new opportunities for development have brought about more reasons to understand and work toward safe and secure operations both on land and off Alaska's coast. To help Alaskans understand these critical challenges and issues at stake in the Arctic, the Institute convened the first Week of the Arctic last year, drawing over 550 participants to five events in four days. The 2012 Week of the Arctic will take place August 13-18 in Anchorage, Alaska. Week of the Arctic events will include:

The Week of the Arctic's signature event is the annual Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award Dinner on Friday, August 17th. This year we'll be recognizing Red Dog Mine for their sustainable development in the North.


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.


inuitconferencelogoArctic/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 museums 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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