Arctic Update Header
June 18, 2013


Today, the Senate will continue to discuss immigration reform, while the House takes up a few bills including farming legislation. 



Treadwell to run for Senate. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced today plans to  seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich. ADN 


Opinion: Room for Native wisdom in monitoring Arctic sea ice. "For thousands of years, Native Alaskans have studied and learned about the ice. They learned what to expect from different seasons and changing weather patterns. They learned what ice to trust, and what ice was unstable. They learned because their existence depended upon it. For hundreds of years, explorers and scientists have been studying the ice, too. A body of scientific data has been developed and used to predict ice behavior. Those predictions are used to inform mariners and industry operating in Arctic waters. And increasingly, they are unreliable, asserts Hajo Eicken, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Eicken recently attended the Arctic Observing Summit in Vancouver, Canada and reports that the stakeholders agreed." Alaska Dispatch 


Pebble backers, foes hope to get ahead in comment war. "The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute has emerged as a force in corralling petitions against U.S. EPA's review of the potential effects of large-scale mining in southwestern Alaska. CES affiliate Resourceful Earth, which describes itself as an effort to reduce 'political barriers' to natural resource production, has collected more than 100,000 signatures opposing EPA's Bristol Bay revised draft watershed assessment. More than 99 percent of comments against EPA's involvement in studying large-scale mining in the watershed come from CEI." EE News


Three Arctic Ports Needed (in Canada). OTTAWA-Canada needs three ports in the Arctic: on its West Coast, in the centre of the archipelago, and on the East Coast.  The Hill Times 


State, Federal Governments Investigate Deepwater Port Possibilities. "[Alaska] and [the] U.S. government are partnering together to investigate building a deep port at Nome or Port Clarence. They're in the early stages of the study. Officials from the Alaska Department of Transportation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer visited Nome, Brevig Mission and Teller last week to collect public input about marine infrastructure and to hear about local concerns over natural resource impacts." Alaska Public 


Learning to Sail Past Arctic Peril. "At the top of the world, the Arctic Ocean's short summer starts this month, bringing shipping barges, cruise liners and fishing vessels through the Bering Strait that divides Russia and Alaska. Shell Oil Co. had planned for its drilling ships to be among those making the journey, after investing more than $4.5 billion in preparation to suck petroleum from beneath the icy waters of the North Slope. But the oil giant will be sitting out this season, with its ships and equipment too thrashed from last year's Alaska run - a reminder to navigators that the Arctic is still a force, even if it's melting." CQ Weekly


Murkowski: Hard to get Washington interested in Arctic issues. "U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski knows she lives in an Arctic nation. Convincing some of her colleagues in Washington of that is another story, she said. While some in the state may disagree with her politics on national issues, few can say Murkowski ignores the state's northern issues. Almost weekly, a release comes out of her office touting her calls for more U.S. Coast Guard resources, funding for studies of infrastructure needs, and her thoughts from her latest trip to the Arctic Council." Alaska Dispatch 


Ottawa raising offshore liability cap to $1B in Arctic, Atlantic waters. "Ottawa is raising the liability cap for companies operating in Atlantic Canada's offshore to $1 billion up from the current $30 million under new proposed legislation. Speaking today in Halifax, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver also announced that liability in the Arctic will increase to $1 billion from $40 million when the legislation is introduced in the fall." CTV News 


Chinaflag China 'launches its first carbon trading scheme.' "China, the world's largest carbon emitter, was set Tuesday to launch its first carbon trading scheme aimed at reducing emissions, state-media said. A platform allowing businesses in the southern city of Shenzhen to trade permits to emit carbon was established on Sunday, with trading due to start on Tuesday, China's official Xinhua news agency reported." 


CRTC warned about the cost of telecom in the North. "Bringing modern Internet and wireless networks to Canada's North may be desirable, but the company tasked with improving the region's telecommunications infrastructure warned that it must also be profitable to justify the hundreds of millions of dollars it will cost. NorthwesTel Inc. made the case for its $233-million network modernization plan for communication services across the Far North at a hearing of the country's telecom regulator." The Globe and Mail 

Fears NGO-law could halt Barents research. "Can Russian researchers continue to work on joint projects with Norwegian colleagues if the funding comes from Norway? The question is introduced after Russia in March implemented a law requiring nonprofit organizations to register as foreign agents if they receive money from foreign sources and are found to be engaging in political activities." Barents Observer 

More blue whale sightings in Arctic waters. "Record numbers of blue whales were spotted off the coast of Svalbard and Jan Mayen Island, but researchers say the increase in sightings doesn't necessarily mean an increase in whales." Barents Observer 

Vessel owners suffer as EU seal ban hammers Norway. "While Norway, along with Canada, continues to fight the European Union's ban on seal products, the ban's impact is crippling the seal industry in its Arctic region. That's what you'll hear from Bengt Koreneliussen while he gives a tour of his largest sealing vessel, the Kvitbjorn, or 'White Bear,' docked at Norway's Arctic city of Troms