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November 13, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Congress returns today.  The Senate will vote on a motion to proceed on a sportsmen's package. The House will vote on several provisions under suspension of the rules.



usarc logo smallOil Spills in Arctic Waters: An Introduction and Inventory of Research Activities and USARC Recommendations  

Today, Fran Ulmer, the presidentially appointed Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission (USARC), will release a report titled, "Oil Spills in Arctic Waters: An Introduction and Inventory of Research Activities and USARC Recommendations" at the US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The report addresses the question, "What research is being done on oil spills in ice-covered waters of the Arctic?"


U.S.-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum (2012) Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum 2012, November 13-15, 2012. The Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum is a biannual event with representation from government, industry, academia, Aboriginal groups, and northerners from both Canada and the United States. The forum provides an opportunity for United States and Canadian decision makers, regulators, Aboriginals, industry members, non-governmental organizations and scientists to discuss current scientific research and future directions for northern oil and gas activities. The focus is on technical, scientific, and engineering research that can be applied to support management and regulatory processes related to oil and gas exploration and development in the North. The North Slope Science Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior is hosting, in partnership with our counterparts in Canada and the United States, the third United States - Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum from November 13 to 15, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska. The Forum will showcase the value of Northern scientific research in support of sound decision-making for oil and gas management. 




russian flagMoscow Orders Closure of Indigenous Peoples Organization. Russia's Ministry of Justice orders close-down of RAIPON in what is another crackdown on NGOs in Russia. The organization has an official cooperation agreement with the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. RAIPON, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, is under increasing pressure after the federal Ministry of Justice said that the statutes of the organization are not in line with federal law and that it therefore must be closed down, the Russian Agency of Social Information reports. The organization plays a central role in international cooperation among indigenous peoples and other Arctic states. Last spring, the Norwegian Barents Secretariat signed an official cooperation agreement with RAIPON. Among the international structures where RAIPON is represented is the Arctic Council, where it as a member of the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs has the role as a permanent participant. Representatives from RAIPON will meet at the upcoming Arctic Council meeting in Haparanda, northern Sweden on Wednesday. The closure of the organization is then expected to be a hot issue among the delegates of the eight Arctic nations. Barents Observer


capitalWill Congress Punt on 'Fiscal Cliff?' A revitalized President Barack Obama is already clashing with a still-solid GOP House majority in a lame-duck session that looks to be configured for the same gridlock that has tied up Washington, D.C., for the past two years. Foremost among the challenges facing the White House and Congress is steering away from the "fiscal cliff" of broad tax increases and deep spending cuts slated to take effect in January, which could push the fragile economy back into recession. Roll Call


NASA: Call for Members of the Science Definition Team for the AboVE Field Campaign. NASA is soliciting applications and nominations for members of the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) field campaign Science Definition Team (SDT). Response will take the form of a Letter of Application submitted to the Terrestrial Ecology Program Manager at NASA Headquarters. Space Ref


Shell in ChukchiShell's Arctic Challenges Just Beginning. Even if Shell strikes oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, it could be at least a dozen years -- and billions upon billions of dollars -- before a single drop of it arrives at a refinery. Here, far above the Arctic Circle, there is no network of pipelines snaking along the seabed. There are no deep-water ports. Even docks can be hard to come by. The entire infrastructure to support offshore development in a hostile climate would have to be built from scratch. Anchorage Daily News


Polar bearIntroducing Polar Bear Week. Observing a polar bear in the wild is like watching a grand mythology unfold before your eyes: the backdrop of the Canadian arctic, the vast stretches of barren tundra and sea ice, the frigid, crisp winds howling and this incredibly wise and majestic creature surviving in a frozen and unforgiving land. As they have for thousands of years, these massive creatures are now gathered along the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada waiting for the water to freeze over. After four to eight months of a walking hibernation with very little to eat, the sea ice formation is the red carpet leading back to their kingdom. It is on the ice that these bears can go hunt Ringed and Bearded Seals and take their rightful place as the high priests in the frozen arctic cathedral. Huffington Post 


Health of Arctic Alaskans Must be Considered in Federal Energy Strategy.[Commentary] Splitting our leaders is helping industry get their way with the locals carrying the risk. After attending the Barrow health impact assessment meetings for the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska where the impacts to health from oil and gas development report were discussed, I am faced with these stories from leaders in the Arctic, who have much concern about the process of change in our lands and waters.  As indigenous people, we have much at stake to continue to be Inupiat in these same lands and waters.  We have many maps that have been presented by the previous North Slope Borough Mayors saying, "We don't want to end up like Nuiqsut!" Yet as Mayor of Nuiqsut I was kept out of meetings that changed the Cross Island deferral for whaling. Current stories are showing many are putting pressure on leadership. Now our own leaders are following this tactic, to break down those who have gone to Washington, D.C., to share our concerns and educate them. It seems to be easier to put down their efforts than to find ways to improve the safety of us all for the generations to come. Alaska Dispatch 


begichBegich Eyeing Changes to Gas Pipeline Bill. Sen. Mark Begich plans to propose changes to a 2004 law that provides incentives for an Alaska natural gas pipeline project. Currently, perks under the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act, including authorization for a federal loan guarantee, apply to a project that would bring gas from Alaska's North Slope to the continental U.S. Over the last year, the focus has shifted away from that, toward a liquefied natural gas project that would allow for overseas exports. Begich is looking at proposing that the benefits be extended to any natural gas project bringing North Slope gas to market, period. NewsOK 


Russian LNG Tanker Takes on Arctic's Northern Sea Route. According to Norway's Barents Observer, Russia's state-owned gas company Gazprom sent a loaded LNG tanker, Ob River, to Japan via the Arctic's Northern Sea Route (NSR) this week. The tanker, which has the capacity to carry 3.1 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent, or about 63,000 metric tons of LNG, set sail on Thursday from Statoil's liquefaction plant at Hammerfest, Norway, on the shores of the Barents Sea. This traverse will be the first time a tanker carrying LNG has attempted the NSR. Alaska Dispatch


How to Catch a 43-Foot Whale in Rough Waters Off Arctic Alaska Coast. With fall whaling over for North Slope villages and the sun sinking lower each day, whaling crews have put up their gear and now prepare to enjoy what the season had to offer. As holidays draw near, communities look forward to the gatherings that will bring out traditional dishes and the fruits of hunters' hard work. "I've been hunting and whaling for over 28 years," said Barrow whaling captain Ned Arey, Sr. "Since I was a young lad." Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events                      


Arctic Technology Conference, December 3-5, 2012. The burgeoning Arctic arena offers a host of opportunities for companies that can solve the complex environmental, physical and regulatory challenges it presents. ATC 2012 will include a highly specialized technical program, education courses, networking events, and an exhibition - all deisgned to help ensure that oil and gas professionals throughout the world are prepared to succeed in these challenging Arctic arenas.


Arctic Transportation Infrastructure: Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, December 3-6, 2012. The Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group approved a project during the Swedish Chairmanship (co-led by the United States and Iceland) to assess transportation infrastructure. The Arctic Marine and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) seeks to evaluate Northern infrastructure -ports, airports, and response capability - by inventorying maritime and aviation assets in the Arctic. As part of this project, the Institute of the North is hosting an Arctic transportation infrastructure conference 3-6 December at the Icelandair Hotel Natura in Reykjavik, Iceland. The conference theme is "Response Capacity and Sustainable Development in the Arctic." Participants will include policy makers and government officials; aviation and marine subject matter experts from the private, public, independent and academic sectors; as well as community leaders and Permanent Participants.


AGU Fall Meeting, December 3-7, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts in fall meeting in San Francisco. Roughly 20,000 scientists will be in attendance. On December 3rd, there will be a town hall meeting entitled "Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions."The U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) is organizing a Town Hall meeting at the Fall AGU Meeting entitled "TH15G Scientific Drilling in the Polar Regions". Ice sheets and ocean sediments hold important climate evidence from the past. International collaboration for drilling in the polar regions requires coordination between science, technology, and logistics.  The research community is invited to hear updates on recent planning by the IDPO/IDDO, IPICS, ANDRILL, IODP, SCAR-ACE, and WAIS initiatives. Opportunities for community involvement in interdisciplinary planning will be highlighted and input solicited. 


Wakefield28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors. Call for abstracts, due November 30, 2012. 


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.


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