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 Sodankyl