Arctic Update Header
May 25, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


federal register logoBig news... For the first time in years, and thanks to the efforts of many, a draft 5-year Arctic Research Program Plan has been developed by the Federal government's Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). It's available for public comment. The public call for comments will be announced in the Federal Register on 5/29/12, but you can find the announcement here, now. The draft plan can be downloaded here. Please submit comments (thanks). This plan reflects the goals and objectives put forward in a report by the USARC.


NSF Partners With U.S. and International Agencies to Foster Research on Sustainability in the Arctic. See NSF press release hereThe National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Program announced a partnership with several federal agencies and a consortium of French science agencies to foster research related to the sustainability of human, built, and environmental systems in the Arctic. The Arctic Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) solicitation was developed as part of the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) portfolio by NSF in collaboration with several U.S. and international agencies, including the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), which represents a consortium of French scientific agencies. These partnerships will bring a broad range of expertise to bear on pressing research questions in Arctic sustainability and will underscore the importance of a cohesive approach to achieving resiliency in the shared environment of the international Arctic.


In other news, the House and Senate will hold pro forma sessions today.




Business Day Live. The New York Times produced an update on Facebook on Arctic drilling and shareholder advocacy. According to the report, Shell has invested significant time, money and lobbying efforts for the opportunity to drill in Alaska's Arctic. Shell's decision  represents the first new drilling in US Arctic in two decades. The New York Times addresses several issues such as oil spill response in the Arctic. The Alasska story is between minutes 3:09 and 6:45 of the 10 minute video. New York Times 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaNew and Frozen Frontier Awaits Offshore Oil Drilling. Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2010, the leaders of the Commission President Obama had appointed to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico sat down in the Oval Office to brief him. After listening to their findings about the BP accident and the safety of deep water drilling, the President abruptly changed the subject. "Where are you coming out on the offshore Arctic?" he asked. New York Times


Congress in Session 


House Rules to Meet on Appropriations Bills. House Republican leaders signaled Thursday they will move forward on more appropriations bills soon after the Memorial Day recess, pushing along the process of setting spending levels for the 2013 fiscal year. The House Rules Committee announced it would meet May 30 to set voting rules on three spending bills - Military Construction-VA (HR 5854), Energy-Water (HR 5325) and Homeland Security (HR 5855) - along with the intelligence authorization measure (HR 5743). Congressional Quarterly


Lessons to Heed for Drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster passed with little fanfare last month. But with our government on the brink of allowing the oil industry to explore in America's remote Arctic Ocean this summer, it is worth revisiting some of the lessons learned from the biggest oil spill in the nation's history. Stopping that spill took three months, even though it occurred in the relatively calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico near Coast Guard stations, cleanup equipment, and abundant shoreside support. Subsequently, I was asked to chair a panel of federal, state, industry and environmental experts to review our nation's response. Our recommendations are especially important for the Arctic. The Korea Herald


shellShell May Join Shtokman Gas Project in Russia's Arctic. Royal Dutch Shell may join Russia's Arctic Shtokman gas project, with Gazprom keeping its majority stake, several sources told Reuters on Friday. "Talks regarding Shell's participation in Shtokman are under way... There are different project configurations under discussion now but Gazprom will keep a 51 percent stake," a source close to the consortium told Reuters.Gazprom sources said earlier this week that there could be a departure from Shtokman, where the Russian gas giant has partnered with Statoil of Norway and Total of France. Reuters UK


Canada flagInuvik Tourism in Decline. With spring taking a firm hold on the Arctic and summer just around the corner, preparations are underway to ramp up to the 2012 tourist season in Inuvik. Stakes are high for Inuvik's tourist industry. With so many other industries in decline in the North, tourism offers a sustainable alternative for bringing money into the community, said Newton Grey, the President of Inuvik's Chamber of Commerce. "Is there an industry that can be sustainable with or without the pipeline? Yes," said Grey. "What it is, is tourism." Northern News Service

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


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.  


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 24-28, 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.   


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