Arctic Update Header
September 18, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are not in session.



obamaNo Official White House Endorsement of House Dems' Sequester Alternative. Even as President Obama draws fire from Republicans over looming sequester cuts, the White House has so far refrained from endorsing the Democrats' plan to avoid them. Although Obama has proposed a 10-year budget plan to stave off the automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending scheduled to hit in 2013, the administration has not formally championed the one-year fix pushed by House Democrats this week as an alternative to the Republicans' proposals. The Hill  


Budget Hawks Seek Accelerated Path for 'Grand Bargain.' Influential budget hawks in Washington are trying to put together a special legislative strategy for rapidly moving through Congress a "grand bargain" overhaul of tax and spending policies that would avert the so-called fiscal cliff set to hit the country at the end of this year. The group, including former members of Congress who have been pushing for greater compromise on budget matters, is trying to advance a new procedural path that could lead to larger changes in the tax code. It also could change budget adjustments over time to reduce the annual growth in the deficit and may win support from majorities in the House and Senate. "It's being shopped around," said Pete V. Domenici, the New Mexico Republican who led the Senate Budget Committee during the 1990s when a broad, bipartisan agreement was forged that set the stage for budget surpluses in the last years of the Bill Clinton presidency. Congressional Quarterly


russian flagRussia Laying Foundation for Arctic Exploration. Gas production in Russia could pave the way for successful arctic drilling projects after new techniques helped improve efficiency during the region's harsh winters. The creation of Russia's first LNG plant has meant overcoming a number of obstacles similar to those faced within the Arctic region - an increasingly attractive prospect as proven oil and gas reserves decline. The success of the programme - which has seen the use of "big bore wells" cutting operating costs and increasing gas flow - is an example of how viable working in such harsh conditions can be. Andrei Galaev, CEO of Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd., the company running the first Russian LNG plant, said the company has an 800km network of onshore pipelines. Oil and Gas Eurasia  


defense spending[Russia] Mixed Soldiers for Arctic Brigade. Russia will secure its national defense in the Arctic with conscripts and contract soldiers. The brigade will be packed up by 2015. The composition of the brigade is likely to be mixed, said the deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov. He assures that special cold-weather apparel has already been developed. Exact location of the brigade is yet unknown. "It could be Murmansk, Arkhangelsk or elsewhere," the Ministry commented. It is however reported that motorized infantry will find its base in the closed military town of Pechenga which is located close to the border of Norway and Finland.Earlier this month, an ex-director of FSB, Russia's security service, and a present Secretary of Russia's Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, said Russia is planning to establish an Arctic base for the navy fleet. "We have made a list of key objects, of twofold purpose, that would secure Russia's national interests and measures of state support to Russian organizations running activities in the seas and rivers". Barents Nova


shellShell Safety System Problems Plague Arctic Plans. Problems with a safety system that Shell Oil volunteered to put into place for drilling off the coast of Alaska are complicating the company's quest to reach oil-bearing rock during the short open water drilling season this year. Royal Dutch Shell LLC announced Monday that a containment dome being tested off the coast of Bellingham, Wash., was damaged Saturday night in its final test. Time needed to repair the damage, on top of delays from ice and waiting for the Alaska Natives' whaling season to end, figured into a decision to cancel plans to complete exploratory wells this year in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. CBS News 


Shrinking Snow Threatens Seal Lairs in Arctic. Arctic-dwelling ringed seals build snow caves on top of sea ice so they can shield their pups from freezing temperatures and predators. But shrinking snow cover could threaten the seals' ability to make these icy lairs, researchers warn. The seals need at least 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow cover to make their shelters. While the mid-winter snowfall rate is expected to increase slightly by the end of the century, Arctic sea ice is expected to start forming later in the season. This means that heavy snow falling earlier in the winter will drop into the ocean instead of piling up on the ice, the researchers said. Live Science

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events                      


Debate on Arctic Challenges Set for Brussels, October 4-5, 2012.The challenges facing the Arctic during a time of change and global warming uncertainty will be the subject of frank and lively debate between policymakers, Ambassadors from European Union and Arctic nations, polar scientists, and representatives industry and Arctic indigenous peoples groups, at the 2012 Arctic Futures Symposium, taking place in Brussels on October 4th and 5th. High-level speakers include Prince Albert II of Monaco, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Belgian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders, and Charles Emmerson, Chatham House Senior Research Fellow on Energy, Environment and Resources, and author of The Future History of the Arctic.  Guest speakers will also include Sweden's Arctic Ambassador Gustav Lind, Greenland's Deputy Foreign Minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Robert Blaauw, Senior Advisor to Shell's Arctic programme, Bernard Funston, Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission, British Antarctic Survey glaciologist Prof. David Vaughan and Lars-Anders Baer, chair of the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.


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.  


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. 


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.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)