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September 5, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:


1.  Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.  Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.  Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union.  



erosionCoastal Native Peoples Share Knowledge with Scientists to Address Climate Change. The First Stewards: Coastal People Address Climate Change symposium was recently held in Washington, D.C. This meeting brought coastal area Native Americans, Alaska Natives and indigenous U.S. Pacific Islanders together with scientists, non-governmental organizations and policy makers to discuss the impacts of, and develop collaborative solutions to, climate change. Adaptation to climate change is a pressing issue for indigenous people, who have lived closely with the ocean and coastal land for generations and depend on them for cultural survival. The Quinault Indian Nation, Quileute Nation, Makah Nation and Hoh Tribe hosted a gathering of over 300 people July 17-20 at the National Museum of the American Indian. US Department of Agriculture 


Farrell on Healy 8-2012Coast Guard Cutter Healy Continues Scientific Mission in Arctic. On Aug. 25 and 26 Healy exchanged nearly 100 personnel and thousands of pounds of science equipment and provisions via commercial helicopter in the northernmost American city on the continent.  After 15 hours of flight operations, the cutter weighed anchor and steamed north to frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean. As part of the Chukchi Sea Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA) project, Healy's first science mission was a multi-disciplinary investigation to examine the biological, chemical and physical properties of Hanna Shoal.  Since departing Dutch Harbor, Alaska, August 9 with 38 scientists aboard, Healy has travelled more than 2,330 miles and conducted 472 individual science casts in the vicinity of Hanna Shoal in the Chukchi Sea. More than 90 miles northwest of Barrow, and within 50 miles of the Shell exploratory drill sites, the shallow depths of Hanna Shoal (40-50 meters) contain unusually high standing stocks of biota due to its location at the confluence of Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea currents.  The timing of this mission was important in order to create a baseline of data prior to extensive energy development in the region. Alaska Native News 


Northwest Barents Sea Warmed Substantially During the Last Decades. A recent study by the Institute of Marine Research, the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Norway shows that the northwest Barents Sea warmed substantially during the last decades. The temperature of the subsurface Atlantic Water in the northern Barents Sea increased rapidly during the late 1990s. Science Daily 


kivalina girlAlaska Village Faces Tight Repair Deadline. Janet Mitchell figures the northwest Alaska village of Kivalina has three weeks at most before winter freeze-up begins, so no time is too soon to repair a three-mile pipeline that's crucial to the fresh water supply in her tiny community. "Once it starts freezing up, it'll be difficult," Mitchell, the Kivalina city administrator, said Tuesday. Emergency crews plan to begin those repairs this week in a multi-entity effort, including the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Northwest Arctic Borough. Late summer storms flooded Kivalina's landfill and damaged the community's water system, which pulls drinking water by pipe from the nearby Wulik River. The pipe was broken in places and "some parts went out to sea," Mitchell said. Bloomberg Businessweek  


Arctic Imperative Tour Pulls Up to Unalaska. With an eye toward Arctic development, a group of investors, government officials, and journalists toured Unalaska this weekend. The group spun off from the three-day Arctic Imperative summit in Girdwood. After the conference ended, they spent more than a week touring communities with strategic importance for Arctic business, like Wainwright and Barrow. Unalaska was the last stop on the tour. KUCB Radio 


Shell Woes Deter Others From US Arctic. Royal Dutch Shell's regulatory problems in the US Arctic, where it has faced repeated delays to an ambitious oil exploration campaign, are deterring other energy groups with licenses in the US's northern oceans, according to one of the most active companies in the region. Tim Dodson, head of exploration at Norway's Statoil, said Shell's experience, which was a "bellwether" for the industry, had reduced the appeal of working in the Chukchi Sea north-west of Alaska. Financial Times 

canadian flag 

Pipeline to Canada's Arctic Coast May be Best Route for Alberta's Oil Sands. Canada may have the second largest oil reserves in the world, but the vast majority are locked up in Alberta's oil sands, far from any ocean. That means that pipelines are needed to transport the oil west to ports on Canada's Pacific Coast or south to markets in the United States. With President Barack Obama having indefinitely postponed approval of Keystone XL, the pipeline that would carry the oil down to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas, Ottawa was hoping to transport the oil through the planned Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. It would stretch from Edmonton, Alberta to the deepwater port in Kitimat, British Columbia. Recent tensions, however, have erupted between B.C. and Alberta, causing the pipeline to turn into a national issue with possible consequences for the Arctic. A report by the Calgary-based firm, Wright Mansell, has estimated that the pipeline would generate $81 billion in tax revenue over the next three decades. B.C. would receive a mere $6.7 billion, while Alberta would receive $32 billion. In July, B.C. Premier Christy Clark demanded a bigger chunk of the revenues, which Alberta outright opposes. A poll by Abacus Data shows that 56 percent of British Columbians opppose the Enbridge pipeline, while only 25 percent are in favor. Contrastingly, 63 percent of Albertans approve of the pipeline. Money isn't the only part of the problem. Many British Columbians are also worried about the environmental risks of having a heavy oil pipeline cross 408 miles of their province. In an interview with CBC's radio program, The House, economist Robyn Allan noted that a highly critical report by the U.S. government on an Enbridge pipeline rupture that sent close to a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan had not been submitted as evidence to the public hearings. British Columbians, currently standing to receive only $223 million a year in oil sands revenues, would surely want to vet any related infrastructure that could create a catastrophe in their landscape should anything go wrong. As it stands, B.C. is set to take on a majority of the risks on land and water in return for only a fraction of the rewards. The pipeline could be decisive in the next election, particularly since many Conservatives in B.C. - a province Harper needs to win to secure victory - are set against it. Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


Fifth Polar Law Symposium 2012, September 6-8, 2012. The theme for the symposium is quite open. It covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:

  • Human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge.  
  • Local and national governance issues.
  • Environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species.
  • Regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources.
  • Law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims.
  • Territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea.
  • Peace and security, dispute settlement.
  • Jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bioprospecting.
  • Trade law, potential shipping lines through the north-west and north-east passages, maritime law and transportation law.
  • The roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the

For more information, please see the Arctic Center


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.  


Wakefield 28th 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.

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