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April 30, 2013


The House and Senate are in recess this week.


Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 29-May 1, 2013. (Anchorage Alaska)The Alaska Rural Energy Conference is a three day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska's remote communities. Building on the growing success, the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power have joined forces again to organize and sponsor the 8th annual Alaska Rural Energy Conference. 


Hayes DOI's Number Two David Hays Stepping Down. It was only a few weeks ago that David Hayes, the Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department, confessed to the Loop that his dream job was being a golf teaching pro at Pebble Beach. It looks like he's getting a little closer to that fantasy gig: Hayes announced Tuesday that he's trading Washington for Palo Alto, where he'll be teaching at his alma mater, Stanford Law, and senior fellowing at the Hewlett Foundation. Washington Post



Helping Nunavut Artists Adapt to a Changing Marketplace. Inuit art sales have been slow to rebound following the collapse of financial markets in 2008, say major wholesale buyers. They're taking steps to help Nunavut artists adapt to a changing marketplace. Debbie Jones, vice-president of art marketing for Arctic Co-operatives Ltd., said the buyers that remain are an elite group looking for high quality pieces. Alaska Dispatch


ConocoPhillips Finishes Winter Exploration Well in NPR-A, Demobilizes Rig. ConocoPhillips has completed an exploration well in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and is demobilizing the drill rig, a company spokeswoman said April 26. Doyon Drilling Rig 141 drilled the Cassin test in the ConocoPhillips-operated Bear Tooth Unit in the northeast NPR-A. The location is about 38 miles west of the producing Alpine field that is also operated by ConocoPhillips, company spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said. Alaska Journal


Polar bear Yukon Conservative MP Accused on Peddling 'Bogus' Information on Polar Bears. A Conservative MP has been peddling what researchers describe as "bogus" information on polar bears and citing U.S. climate skeptics as experts on the iconic creatures. In a letter that shocked scientists, Yukon MP Ryan Leef said: "The global polar bear population has quadrupled over the last 40 years." The letter, which Leef wrote to a constituent in February, said many "pessimistic studies" about the bears have been judged "unscientific and inconsequential to decision makers" by U.S. researchers. The researchers he refers to are well-known climate sceptics.


Shell Australia Head to Run US Arctic Operations. Royal Dutch Shell is moving its Australian head to run operations in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday, as the oil major attempts to recover from a series of drilling setbacks in the icy north. Ann Pickard, who has been overseeing billions of dollars of investments in Australian gas-export projects, will take up a new role in the U.S. on June 1, the person said. Wall Street Journal


Jewell, Sally New Interior Chief Savors a Steep Learning Curve. Sally Jewell bounded up a granite boulder near the peak of Old Rag Mountain and turned back to her hiking companion, who was staring up at the smooth rock that offered no obvious hand- or footholds. "Trust your feet," she said.  That mountaineer's mantra has carried Ms. Jewell through a lifetime of challenging ascents and a varied career as petroleum engineer, banker and retail executive. On April 12, she was sworn in as the 51st secretary of the interior. New York Times


Republicans Say Peer Review Isn't Enough. House of Representatives science committee chair Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, is writing a bill that would mandate new funding criteria for National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. Called the "High Quality Research Act," the bill would require the NSF to judge research on three criteria, according to a copy of the draft legislation obtained by ScienceInsider and The Huffington Post. According to the draft, all funded research must "advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare" and "secure the national defense" of the United States. The NSF must certify that each funded project is of "the finest quality, is groundbreaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society of large." Finally, funded projects can't duplicate work already being funded by the government. The Scientist


arcticcouncil Arctic Council: EU Out But China Likely In, Academics Say. The word on the fate of nations seeking observer status at the Arctic Council is that the European Union is likely out, and China is likely in. This was the opinion of most participants at an April 26 academic conference on Canada and the Arctic Council at the Montreal-based Observatoire de la politique et de la s