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July 31, 2013

The 32nd United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE)/The International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) North American Conference: "Industry Meets Government: Impact on Energy Use & Development," July 28-31, 2013 (Anchorage, AK). 



"As the global economy follows a precarious path to full recovery, the challenge of meeting growing energy needs in an increasingly volatile world with finite resources becomes ever more urgent. All parties - from governments and non-governmental organizations to energy producers and consumers - have a stake in fostering smarter energy development and use that minimizes adverse 


environment effects and consumer costs. The 32nd USAEE/IAEE North American Conference will address the issues, challenges, and opportunities of industry-government relations as the stakeholders strive to meet their respective goals for commerce and society."


Fran Ulmer, Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission, spoke Monday at the conference to discuss "potential energy resources of the Arctic Offshore, competing claims to the Outer Continental Shelf, the Law of the Sea Treaty and future U.S. participation, onshore transportation, the risks of oil spills and other pollution, and international cooperation in dealing with issues and events." 


You can view the full conference agenda here.




The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is conducting a survey "to better understand how recent U.S government policy is impacting your science. Specifically, how will sequestration and/or government travel restrictions affect your ability to conduct research, attend conferences, and participate in AGU activitiesThis is a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in March 2013, which was distributed via AGUniverse. This information will help us to communicate more specifically with policy makers and to support and facilitate your full participation in AGU volunteer activities and meetings."


Diminishing Sea Ice in the Arctic Presents Challenges and Opportunities. With ice diminishing in the Arctic - and a nearly ice-free summer Arctic Ocean Sullivan & Neffengerpredicted by 2050 if not sooner - the dramatic and fast-paced changes in the region present significant challenges as well as opportunities, according to experts and politicians at the 5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, held in Washington, DC on 16-18 July. By Randy Stackhouse. American Geophysical Union's EOS 


And if you missed it,  here's a 30-second video clip of the conference from the NBC Nightly News on 7/18/13. 


State to seek reconsideration of ANWR rejection. "The state will ask the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider a decision rejecting Alaska's exploration plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Regional Fish and Wildlife Service director Geoffrey Haskett, in a letter last week, said the authorization for an exploration program on the coastal plain of the refuge expired in 1987." Anchorage Daily News  


The Alaskan village set to disappear under water in a decade. "Which is perhaps just as well, because within a decade Kivalina is likely to be under water. Gone, forever. Remembered - if at all - as the birthplace of America's first climate change refugees. Four hundred indigenous Inuit people currently live in Kivalina's collection of single-storey cabins. Their livelihoods depend on hunting and fishing. The sea has sustained them for countless generations but in the last two decades the dramatic retreat of the Arctic ice has left them desperately vulnerable to coastal erosion. No longer does thick ice protect their shoreline from the destructive power of autumn and winter storms. Kivalina's spit of sand has been dramatically narrowed." BBC News 


Begich Bills Increase Protection for Fisheries, Arctic Research. "U.S. Senator Mark Begich helped move several pieces of legislation through the Senate Begich Commerce Committee today including bills that will increase Arctic research, eliminate pirate fishing practices, improve international fisheries stewardship, and ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has the resources necessary to recruit and retain a strong workforce. Begich is the chief sponsor of two of the bills...."

"Arctic Research, Monitoring and Amendments Act of 2013: Begich crafted this bill to ensure the science needed for responsible arctic development was getting done. It provides authority to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) to issue research grants for a wide variety of arctic science. The bill is supported by the USARC, the University of Alaska, and others." Senator Begich Official Website  


Oil Drilling in Alaska Battles over oil have long defined Arctic politics. "This is the time of year when oil wars once raged in the Arctic. Or at least they did 400 years ago when the oil came not from the ground but from the fat of the bowhead whale. In 1613, the bowheads had just been 'found in large numbers in the bays of Spitsbergen and the other islands of the Svalbard archipelago, just as the long-standing Basque right whale (so named because whalers thought they were the 'right' whale to hunt) fishery off the coast of Labrador was going into decline,' writes Jeffrey Mazo in Politics and Strategy. 'Svalbard's many deep bays and fjords made catching the whales easier than in the open sea, and the nearby shoreline offered convenient sites for the industrial processes needed to extract the oil.'" Alaska Dispatch  


The Benefits and 'Costs of Cold.' Alaskan Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell addressed a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) yesterday entitled "The Benefits and Costs of Cold. "'When it comes to the economy of the Arctic, the State of Alaska and the federal government need to pull in the same direction,' Lt. Gov. Treadwell said. 'Back home, we're rowing as hard as we can, but Washington, D.C. is throwing out sea anchors.' The lieutenant governor discussed steps the State of Alaska is taking to make sure Alaska and the U.S. realize the economic benefits of the Arctic. He discussed work on shipping safety, Governor Parnell's More Alaska Production Act and goal for a million barrels a day of oil in the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and the governor's efforts to begin new seismic exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)." SitNews 


You can view his full remarks here.


Researchers creating database of bones from every known arctic bird, mammal, fish. "Known as the Virtual Zooarchaeology of the Arctic Project, or VZAP, the database pulls together data from universities and museums around the world. The Burke Museum, Smithsonian Institution and Canadian Museum of Civilization have partnered with Maschner to offer their considerable collections. The database can be seen online through Idaho State University, where Maschner teaches and acts as the director for the Idaho Museum of Natural History. After the addition of samples from the UA Museum, VZAP will bring together detailed images of nearly every fish, bird and mammal species in the North American arctic and sub-arctic regions." Fairbanks Daily-News Miner

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


Tomorrow, 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.  



Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed S.1344, the Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2013 (Begich, AK). S.1344 "would supplement the nation's research capabilities in the rapidly changing Arctic by giving the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC) authority to institute a research grant making program and would also take advantage of the expertise of the Presidentially-appointed USARC, and its working relationship with Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, to supplement and better coordinate Arctic research priorities.  No funding is authorized in this legislation.  A funding mechanism for such a program will be pursued under separate legislation." 


For more information, you can view S.1344 the bill text and summary. Senator Begich's Press Release is available here.


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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