Arctic Update Header
April 5, 2013


Both chambers are in recess. The Senate returns on April 8. The House returns on April 9.  

** Top News**
The Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska released a report to the President to "describe these challenges [dramatic environmental, social and economic changes] as they relate to the management of natural resources in the US Arctic. The report presents recommendations for advancing a common management approach that provides coordinated, forward-thinking solutions." Chair of the Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer consulted and assisted in the preparation of the report.


Link to the report here.


InteriorDepartment of Interior Press Release: An interagency working group chaired by Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes today released a report that calls for an integrated management strategy for the rapidly changing Arctic. The report highlights the need for a coordinated approach that uses the best available science to integrate cultural, environmental and economic factors in decision-making about development and conservation. "This report chronicles how Arctic residents are dealing with rapid, climate change-induced impacts on their resources and traditional ways of life at the same time that new economic activity and opportunities are emerging - notably oil and gas, marine transportation, tourism and mining," said Hayes, chair of the Alaska Interagency Working Group that commissioned the report. "It is imperative that we reduce redundancies and streamline federal efforts as we safely and responsibly explore and develop Alaska's vast resources while preserving the region's rich ecosystems that will sustain future generations." Department of Interior


"A Call to Action" on Planning Arctic Development. Dozens of federal, state and local agencies have a say on how development happens in arctic Alaska. A report released yesterday makes the case for doing a better job coordinating the work those agencies are doing as big decisions are made on important arctic issues. Report includes interview with US Arctic Research Chair Fran Ulmer. APRN 


Murkowski 2Senator Lisa Murkowski release: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement in response to the report "Managing the Future of a Rapidly Changing Arctic" by the federal interagency working group tasked with coordinating oil and natural gas permitting in Alaska: "I commend the administration and the Department of Interior for recognizing the importance of the Arctic to our nation's national and economic security as well as the needs and perspectives of the residents of the far north. This report provides a good general summary of the challenges facing policymakers on Arctic issues, though none of the information in the report will come as a surprise to Alaskans or anyone else who closely follows Arctic issues." Senator Lisa Murkowski/ Senate Energy Committee Minority


BegichSenator Mark Begich Release: In response to the release of the Department of Interior report Managing for the Future in a Rapidly Changing Arctic, U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement: "Alaska is the only reason America is an Arctic nation and the changes underway there have captured the attention of the highest levels of our federal government. This new report to the President details the enormous opportunities and challenges in America's Arctic. It notes that responsible development can take place in America's Arctic if properly managed." Senator Mark Begich


Japan Appoints Arctic Ambassador. Japan has appointed an Arctic ambassador, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Masuo Nishibayashi is already the ambassador in charge of cultural exchange, so he will now fill two roles. Nishibayashi joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and has spent most of his career in the Americas. He has served as consul general in Boston and Sao Paulo, Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau Counselor, and ambassador to Cuba, among other positions. Alaska Dispatch


Alaska Songbird Institute Will Assume Projects Abandoned by Closure of Alaska Bird Observatory. When the Alaska Bird Observatory unexpectedly flew the coop in November, it left a huge void in Fairbanks'-and Alaska's-birding communities. For 21 years, the ABO conducted research on songbirds, presented educational programs, and answered the public's bird questions. Now, less than six months after the ABO closed because of financial constraints and just in time for spring migration, the Alaska Songbird Institute is taking wing. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Unraveling the Mystery of Grolars-Grizzlies that Mate with Polar Bears. When he heard the news of a grizzly-polar bear hybrid shot in Canada's Arctic, Tom Seaton thought back to an unusual polar bear hide he'd once seen at Nelson Walker's home in Kotzebue. "He had two polar bear rugs in his house-one was a huge one, and other was special. It had lots of brown in it," Seaton said. "It looked like a regular polar bear, but for every square inch of hide, 5 to 20 percent of the hairs were brown instead of white." Alaska Dispatch


canadian flagHigh Arctic Sovereignty Operation Underway: Air, Ground Forces and Rangers Begin Operation Nunalivut 2013. Soldiers and Canadian Rangers kicked off their spring time Arctic sovereignty operation April 2, launching patrols across the High Arctic Islands from Resolute Bay. This year's Operation Nunalivut will see more than 120 members of the Canadian forces, including about 35 Rangers, fan out from operation headquarters in four patrols. Three of these will cover the northwestern portion of the islands. Nunatsiaq Online


New Polar Center! Penn State University, the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, recently established the Polar Center at Penn State. The Polar Center will foster creative, groundbreaking, and synergistic collaboration by catalyzing exchange among members with a unique breadth of expertise at Penn State, representing the life, physical, and social sciences. Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics." 


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. 

 The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. 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.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Reovaniemi, Finland) The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest research scientific knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic.

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