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August 1, 2013
Today's Events

Today, at 1:00 p.m
., the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing entitled "
EPA's Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment - A Factual Review of a Hypothetical Scenario." The purpose of the hearing will be to review the EPA's timing and rationale for conducting the draft watershed assessment which would affect any potential mines in the Bristol Bay area.

For more information, including background, issues, and witness list, visit the Hearing Charter. You can view tomorrow's hearing at the Committee Website.


July newsletter released today from the DHS National Center for Maritime, Island and Remote and Extreme Environment Security contains several Arctic-related items, such as UAF researchers conducting common operating picture exercise off Barrow, and collaboration with Norwegians on vessel detection and tracking


If funding for Arctic facilities comes through, will a boom follow? "As the federal government debates whether to share revenues from offshore development with the states nearby, and regulators clamber to get policy in place to help smooth the transition into a new era of trans-Arctic shipping, one group is not waiting for anyone to give them the green light. Arctic shipping is going to break records this year, according to a recent story in the Financial Times. The Times reports that the Northern Sea Route -- the one above Russia that allows ships to transit from Europe to Asia in record time -- has attracted a record number of trend-setters this year. Russia has granted permission for 204 ships to sail across the passage this year, a huge jump from the 46 ships that went through the passage in 2012. Two years ago, only four vessels reportedly went through." Arctic Dispatch


Naval War College Forms Arctic Regional Studies Group. "Recognizing the maritime implications of the changing Arctic region, the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I., launched the Arctic Regional Studies Group (ASG), on July 26. 'The ASG was created with the goal of helping our students and the Navy to better understand, prepare for, and adapt to future operational and strategic challenges in the Arctic region,' said NWC's provost, retired Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, in an announcement to the NWC community." US Naval War College 

For fun..."79 Common Mispronunciations Which You Obviously Already Knew"
'Arctic' has two c's. (tip: start clip at 3:03 to get to Arctic bit)

Finland blocks ringed seal hunting. "Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is permitting up to 1,050 grey seals to be taken by hunters this season, but has put a ban on the hunting of the less common Baltic ringed seal. The quota for grey seals during the season that begins in August is the same as for last year. However, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry on Wednesday issued regulations under which ringed seal cannot be hunted, except under special circumstances. At most 30 permits can be acquired by hunters to put down ringed seals that are found to be causing damage." Arctic Dispatch 


Energy Economics conference: Did Alaska cut oil tax too much, or not enough? A U. of Alaska think tank researcher said the tax cut passed by the Legislature this spring is worse than the scandal-laced oil-tax bill passed in 2006, and that it will eventually need to be rewritten because it won't bring the state enough revenue. Offering a completely different perspective is ConocoPhillips' chief economist, who said the new incentives don't go far enough to offset the fact that oil companies in Alaska face some of the steepest costs in the world." Alaska Dispatch 


As Bristol Bay fight heats up, EPA's McCarthy may visit proposed mine site. "In a sign of the growing political importance of the fight over whether to permit Alaska's Pebble Mine, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said in an interview she may make a personal visit to see where the controversial project would operate. Six tribes have joined forces with environmentalists and fishing operators have been lobbying the Obama administration to block to proposed mining operation in the Bristol Bay watershed, a remote area that is home to nearly half of the world's sockeye salmon. The tribes have asked the EPA to invoke its powers under the Clean Water Act to block the mine on the grounds that it would harm the region's waterways, fish and wildlife, while two companies building the mine, Anglo American and Northern Dynasty, have launched their own campaign aimed at keep the agency out of the decision." Washington Post 


Alaska's Treadwell gets super PAC for 2014 Senate bid. "Paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday hopes to give Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell a boost in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate, in the form of a new super PAC dubbed 'Freedom's Frontier.' On the fundraising front, the super PAC hopes to help level the playing field for Treadwell, who only announced his intent to officially run for Senate in June after months of deliberating, allowing Begich to get a leg up in campaign fundraising. In his first FEC filing in July, Treadwell announced that he had raised about $170,000 in an abbreviated fundraising quarter, $50,000 of which was his own money. By comparison, Begich raised nearly $1 million in each of the first two quarters of 2013, and had about $2 million cash on hand in July. Joe Miller, the failed 2010 Senate candidate and so far the only other serious Republican candidate to officially announce his candidacy for 2014, had about $320,000 cash on hand but had raised only about $18,000 in the quarter." Alaska Dispatch 


Begich Treadwell

Alaskan Survey Results


If the candidates for Senate next year were Democrat Mark Begich and Republican Mead Treadwell, who would you vote for? 


Mark Begich 44%

Mead Treadwell 40%

Not sure 17% 



Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Today, at 1:00 p.m., the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing entitled "EPA's Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment - A Factual Review of a Hypothetical Scenario." The purpose of the hearing will be to review the EPA's timing and rationale for conducting the draft watershed assessment which would affect any potential mines in the Bristol Bay area.

For more information, including background, issues, and witness list, visit the Hearing Charter
You can view tomorrow's hearing at the Committee Website.  


Future Events

**New This Week**
"2013  Environmental Intelligence in Maritime: Preparedness for Arctic Drilling," August 8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "While Alaska remains the land of opportunity for oil and gas reserves, the challenges to access its vast reserves persist. Join NAMEPA to discuss what industry, regulators and environmental groups are doing to realize the potential of the region."
Invited speakers include Representative Don Young and Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer.

"Presentations, roundtable discussions and workshops are held as part of the Week of the Arctic, varied in form to reach different audiences and achieve multiple goals. The Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award dinner is the signature event for the Week of the Arctic. In recent years, the Award has been given to Red Dog Mine (2012) and Jacob Adams (2011). The award was created in 2000 to recognize individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions toward sustainable development in the Arctic. Join us as we present CH2M Hill this year's Award. The Week of the Arctic culminates on Sunday, August 18 with a champagne toast in celebration of the Governor Walter J. Hickel Day of the Arctic."


101st Meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 26-27, 2013 logo with background (Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska). The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research  Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. A meeting agenda is now posted on the USARC website,


You can also view the 101st Commission Meeting announcement in this entry at the Federal Register.


Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."


7th International Workshop on Ice-Drilling Technology, September 9-13, 2013 (Madison, WI). "The event is sponsored by the Ice Drilling Program Office- Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDPO-IDDO), International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), International Glaciological Society (IGS). Following in the footsteps of the six previous ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International workshop on Ice Drilling Technology will take a comprehensive look a the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, borehole logging, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics."


Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). "The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept is designed to meet specific business objectives during two days for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic communities addressing key issues such as sustainable business development and regional protection. As more and more data has confirmed that the Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas reserves, locations such as Greenland and the Barents Sea have seen a huge growth in interest from the hydrocarbon industry. Despite the opportunities offered, there are many challenges that may hinder operations. The presence of cold temperatures, ice and a lack of infrastructure pose logistical problems that make exploration expensive and risky."


The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013 (Akureyri, Iceland).

 "The 2013 Arctic Energy Summit is a multidisciplinary event expected to draw together several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics, policymakers, energy professionals and community leaders to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues. Building on the work done at the highly successful 2007 Arctic Energy Summit and Technology Conference, the 2013 Summit will address energy extraction, production and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to three thematic areas: richness, resilience and responsibility.  The 2013 Summit will be hosted by the Institute of the North in cooperation with local host Arctic Portal." 


The Inaugural Meeting of The Arctic Circle, October 12-14, 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland). "The inaugural Arctic Circle will be held October 12-14, 2013. Subsequent Arctic Circle gatherings will be held in a different Arctic location each year, so that participants can become familiar with the challenges, needs and opportunities presented by these unique environments. The agenda for the first Arctic Circle gathering will include plenary sessions with international leaders on emerging topics of interest, such as: Sea ice melt and extreme weather; Security in the Arctic; Fisheries and ecosystem management; Shipping and transportation infrastructure; Arctic Resources; and Tourism."


The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA). "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments. 


The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:

  • Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
  • Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
  • Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
  • State and future of freshwater and heat content
  • Horizontal and vertical mixing
  • Process studies and parameterizations
  • Model validation and calibration
  • Numerical improvements and algorithms
  • Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"

More info is available at the project's website: 


Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society." 


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, 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 scientific research and 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."


International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).  ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."


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