Arctic Update Header
August 27, 2013



The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. 


Meeting Agenda


Arctic Councils test the waters in Unalaska.
"Legislators, scientists, and industry stakeholders are flocking to Unalaska this week to work out a plan for exploring the Arctic and they want input from locals. The United States Arctic Research Commission convened at Unalaska's Grand Aleutian Hotel today. The independent agency is made up of eight commissioners with diverse backgrounds in fisheries, science, and education." 
Alaska Public Media 


EPA chief McCarthy visits Alaska, emphasizes climate change. "As she marveled at the site of a shrinking Alaska glacier, the newly installed leader of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the president told her that fighting climate change should be her primary focus. 'The president's main priority for me was to recognize when I was coming in here that this is going to be a significant challenge and one in which the administration was going to begin to tackle,' said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy." Anchorage Daily News


Poll Shows Wide Fears of Pebble Mine. "Hays Research Group asked 388 likely primary voters their opinions of a possible 2014 ballot initiative that would prohibit the Pebble Mine. More than 60% said they favor the measure. Some two-thirds of that group strongly support it." Alaska Public Media 


Russian application to extend its national Arctic boundaries. "In 2014, Russia plans to submit an application for extension of the boundaries of the continental Arctic Shelf to the special UN Commission after modifying and reinforcing the application by the results of additional research, reports 'Arctic info'. Citing remarks by Denis Khramov, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, 'Arctic info' says that Russia had already applied for extension of the territories in the Barents, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as in the Central Arctic Ocean. The Commission generally recognized the application as meeting the requirements but requested the Russian Federation to provide an additional proof that the ranges of Lomonosov and Mendeleev, going beyond the boundaries of our official continental shelf, belong to the Mainland." Marine Link 


Director Brian Salerno sworn in [as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)]. The BSEE "works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement." Salerno says in a press release: "I look forward to building on the great progress BSEE made under Director Watson, who set a high bar in his two years with the agency. Under his leadership BSEE developed a culture that prioritizes safety above all else and I appreciate the support you have given to the bureau in support of its mission. In the past few years BSEE has also strengthened relationships with its partners, and I look forward to building on those relationships. As we move forward, I hope that we can all remain focused on worker safety and protecting the marine and coastal ecosystems." Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 


Is the Arctic the next emerging market? "As the ice recedes in the Arctic, talk of industry entering the region to take advantage of its economic opportunities is on the rise. The territories contain significant natural resources, including conventional hydrocarbons (natural gas, condensate, and oil), metals, fish, high-value minerals such as diamonds and rare earths, and fresh water. If the region's waters become more navigable, viable new trans-Arctic shipping routes between the North Atlantic and Bering Strait could emerge. Even if such routes are available only in the warmer months, they could bring substantial logistics savings over routes through the Suez and Panama Canals, offering cost benefits for industries and consumers, and global environmental benefits from reduced fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. It's no wonder the world's interest in the Arctic is so keen." Strategy + Business 


How the Arctic Ocean could transform world trade. "China, the world's largest trading nation, suffers from several strategic weaknesses related to its all-

important shipping routes. The 'Malacca dilemma' results from China's 

dependence on the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia for over 80 percent of its oil imports. This leaves the country's energy supply vulnerable to interruption...China, along with other Asian trading nations, is also looking towards the north for alternate shipping lanes." Al Jazeera 


Northern Sea Route: Humming with Activity. "The NSR is humming with activity this year. According to the information on the website of NSRA, 454 vessels have been given permission by the Russian authorities to transit through the route. Of the permissions given an overwhelming are ships with Russian flags (83 percent) and the rest (17 percent ) belonging to various countries including France, UK, China, Poland, Germany, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Liberia, etc. In all 71 applications have been refused on technical grounds." Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses 


Russia opens first Arctic search and rescue center. "With increased traffic on the Northern Sea Route comes the need for more onshore safety infrastructure. Russia in 2009 allocated 910 million rubles (app