Arctic Update Header
June 5, 2013


The Senate is in recess for the day. The House will consider the 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. 


10th International Symposium on Cold Regions Development (ISCORD 2013) (June 2-5, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska) The International Association for Cold Regions Development Studies (IACORDS) and the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will host a conference on "Planning for Sustainable Cold Regions." Special Keynote Sessions each day include "Bridging the Gap Between Climate Change Science and Engineering Practice"; "The Challenges of the Debris from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan"; and "Energy in Alaska - Current and Future Projects."

Opponents of Alaska oil tax legislation seek to get referendum on 2014 ballot. Organizers behind the Fairbanks effort to repeal Gov. Sean Parnell's oil tax reform legislation say their blue petition booklets are on track to get the signatures needed to get the referendum on the 2014 ballot. More than 3,500 signatures, 10 percent of voters who cast ballots in the last election, are needed in the Fairbanks area and will count toward the more than 30,000 signatures needed statewide to repeal the bill they call "a massive giveaway." Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Canada's Northwest Territories plans fiber link to Mackenzie Valley. The government in Canada's Northwest Territories plans to start construction on the fiber optic link up the Mackenzie Valley next winter. Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger says it will make the community of Inuvik a hot spot for Arctic research, and also help to better connect northerners. Alaska Dispatch 


Alaska, Hawaii delegations discuss native issues. A discussion in Washington, D.C. on native issues is continuing an alliance between congressional delegations of Alaska and Hawaii, forged by a longtime friendship between two senators. The delegations say Tuesday's round-table continues the special relationship established by Hawaii's late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Alaska's late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Now funded, work begins to clean tsunami trash from remote Alaska beaches. Trash from Japan's huge 2011 earthquake and tsunami is littering coastal beaches, including Alaska, but only limited cleanup efforts are gearing up during the favorable summer weather season. "We're already behind the curve on that," said Chris Pallister, co-founder of Gulf of Alaska Keeper, which is using a $1 million state grant to clean up marine debris, much of which is from the tsunami, in an area around Prince William Sound. Alaska Dispatch 


Coast Guard monitoring leaky oil containers on ship from China.

A foreign cargo ship with containers oozing oil from China is being held by the Coast Guard at the Port of Valdez until the leaks can be stopped and the chemical composition of the oil determined. The leaking oil, for insulating and cooling transformers, is part of a shipment destined for Venezuela that also includes transformers, Coast Guard Lt. Allie Ferko said Tuesday from Valdez. The ship, the BBC Arizona, stopped in Valdez to deliver steel I-beams. Anchorage Daily News  


Study urges more money to help Nunavut Inuit choose better food. Many adults in Nunavut like traditional foods, but junk food and sweet drinks are also a big - and unhealthy - part of the daily diet. A recent study, which surveyed what 211 Nunavut adults in three communities ate over a one-month period, found caribou, muktuk and Arctic char are the most widely-consumed traditional foods. But it also found high-energy, nutrient-poor foods and sugar-sweetened beverages are widely consumed as well, with sugary drinks providing about three times as many calories a day than recommended. Nunatsiaq Online


New Kirkenes Declaration on cooperation in the Barents region. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the Barents Barents SeaSummit in Kirkenes has adopted a new declaration, 20 years after the start of the Barents cooperation. People-to-people cooperation remains at the core of the Barents cooperation, but the new declaration also places greater emphasis on economic cooperation and the environment. The first Kirkenes Declaration was signed in 1993 and opened the way for cooperation across borders that had previously been closed. The new declaration points out that local initiatives have been essential to the success of the Barents cooperation, and that it is still the peoples of the region who play the key role in the cooperation. Barents Nova 


House Panel Starts Marathon Markup of Defense Policy Bill. The House Armed Services Committee began its marathon markup of the annual defense authorization bill Wednesday, with lawmakers expected to differ sharply on provisions of the $638.4 billion measure that significantly exceeds budget caps allowed under sequestration. Lawmakers kicked off the markup with consideration of the Seapower and Projections Forces portion of the defense policy bill (HR 1960). That section of the bill would raise the cost limit of the Gerald R. Ford carrier, designated CVN-78, modifying the cap from $11.75 billion to $12.9 billion. The aircraft carrier, upon completion, would be the most expensive piece of military equipment ever built. Congressional Quarterly


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S.1096, A bill to establish an Office of Rural Education Policy in the Department of Education. (Sen. Baucus, introduced and referred to committee) Summary 

Future Events


The Science and Stewardship of Coast Hazards Response in Protected Areas, June 7, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists in conjunction with Congressman Sam Farr and responders will highlight how they access and interpret science to keep communities safe and commerce moving through a hypothetical California-based scenario, impacting a National Marine Sanctuary, walking participants through each step of the response.  The scenario will cover:  oil spill response, marine debris tracking and removal, early Natural Resource Damage Assessment efforts, information management, and public involvement.  There will be many opportunities for audience engagement and discussion.


workshop for the revision of the 2004 Arctic Marine Strategic Plan; a AMSA II(C)/AMSA II(D)-PSSA bridging workshop; and an ecosystem Approach to Management workshop.


A Top of the World Conference, June 12-13 (Barrow, Alaska). The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will meet in Barrow.  More information will be available on the new AAPC website: here.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC)   AGU logo

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 (see 6/25 forum titled "US Government Investment in Arctic Change Research"). The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


3rd Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop, July 10-12, 2013. (Anchorage, Alaska). The 3rd airship workshop will follow up the achievements of last year's workshop by focusing on potential approaches and actions for creating incentives that would facilitate the establishment of strong cargo airship business commitments for cargo airship services for customers in Alaska and other Northern areas. Workshop topic areas will look at specific actions that may be initiated.

5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and icedimArctic Maritime Operations, July 16-18, 2013 (Washington, D.C.). The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) co-host this follow-on symposium to address the changing state of Arctic sea ice and associated environmental conditions vis-a-vis emerging or expected naval, maritime, and associated activities and operations in the region. Invited speakers include nationally and internationally recognized experts on Arctic observations, climate change, and maritime operations.


101st Meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission, August 26-27, 2013 (Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska). The 101st meeting of the US Arctic Research Commission will be held in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. The meeting agenda will be posted on the USARC website,, closer to the meeting date. 

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-