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June 6, 2013


There are no Arctic related events today.


Witness the Arctic | Volume 17, Number 2 - Spring 2013. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) released its Spring newsletter featuring multiple articles detailing new Arctic developments, studies, and perspectives. Included is an article by the US Arctic Research Commission delineating our 2013-14 goals and summarizing our recent activities. ARCUS
Arctic needs a new Arctic Ocean Council, says Greenlandic politician. "Arctic peoples may be small in number, but they must take their place on the global stage as economic superpowers shift attention to their huge lands and resources, says Greenlandic politician Josef Tuusi Motzfeldt, who wants to see the creation of new 'Arctic Ocean Council.'" Nunatsiaq Online

Bering Sea canyons may become new marine wildlife preserve.
The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, NPFMC, the Federal agency responsible for commercial fisheries in the Bering Sea, is considering classifying the Bering Sea Canyons as a wildlife preserve. This would be a landmark decision according to some. The NPFMC is conducting its meetings in Juneau this week. The Federal agency is comprised of fifteen (15) members from Alaska, Washington State, and Oregon. Alaska's Governor nominates five candidates to serve on the Federal fisheries council.

Canada's Amundsen icebreaker back in service, headed to Arctic. "The Canadian Coast Guard research vessel Amundsen is on its way back to the Arctic after spending last year in dry-dock for repairs. The ship was launched on Friday in St. Catharines, Ontario. There were significant repairs to its engines and new generators were installed. A news release said it was a $6 million contract for Seaway Marine and Industrial." Alaska Dispatch

China's CNOOC Eyes First Foray Into Offshore Arctic Oil Drilling. "China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CEO), or CNOOC, is partnering with Iceland's Eykon Energy in an application for a license to explore and produce oil and gas in Arctic waters offshore Iceland, the country's hydrocarbon licensing manager told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday. If the application is successful and a license is awarded, it would mark the Chinese company's first foray into offshore Arctic oil drilling. The industry's biggest players are scrambling to enter this new area in efforts to replenish reserves, an area which has become increasingly controversial." Wall Street Journal

Arctic Council Ministerial meeting anticlimactic as Canada assumes chair. "On the face of it, the Arctic Council Ministerial that took place on May 15 was largely business as usual. The biggest story of course was the acceptance of five Asian states (Japan, India, China, South Korea and Singapore) as Observers and the delay, but not denial, of the European Union, pending a resolution with Canada over its seal product ban. There may have been some eleventh hour politicking, and the outcomes were not foregone conclusions. But it must be conceded that the real story here was that the EU and major Asian nations wanted to be admitted as observers to the Arctic Council in the first place -- and that is a story that began in 2006." Alaska Dispatch

China plans to open Arctic research centre. "China plans to expand its study of the Arctic's resources as well as the region's shipping and economic potential, the Chinese institute for polar research said June 6 on the official English-language website of the China News Service. ENCS said the Polar Research Institute of China plans to set up a China-Nordic Arctic Research Centre in Shanghai to increase awareness and knowledge of the Arctic, promote cooperation for its sustainable development, and provide opportunities for Chinese and Nordic researchers to conduct Arctic research." Nunatsiaq Online

Arctic Broadband Connection in the Works. "A Norwegian project aims to achieve the ambitious goal of bringing broadband to the Arctic. A broadband network that could transmit large amounts of data over many channels would benefit the oil and gas industries, search-and-rescue operations and shipping traffic communications, among other things. The Norwegian Space Center Telenor and the Scandinavian company MARINTEK are proposing such a project to link up the far north."

Rosneft and Gazprom both awarded Arctic Shelf permits. "Gazprom and Rosneft are officially the only companies with the right to explore the Russian Arctic shelf, as they both received exclusive extraction licenses in return for large cash payments. In 2009, Rosneft agreed to pay 1.4 billion roubles ($450 million) and Gazprom 1.2 billion in a resolution passed by the state Duma, but the exact amount paid on Wednesday for the licenses is unknown." RT

Major study assesses sea level changes due to ice sheet losses. "Improved satellite measurements and computer simulations of ice sheets are creating a more accurate picture of the current and future rise in the global sea level, according to an international team of climate experts including Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz."

The argument against oil drilling in Arctic Seas. "The Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a statement concluding that recent events - most notably the grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska - show the oil industry is not ready to safely, cleanly drill offshore in the Arctic. I agree. There's no logic for pushing fossil-fuel frontiers this extreme while neglecting energy-efficiency measures at home." New York Times Opinion

Funding cuts to major aboriginal political groups undermine 'potential for progress,' Chief Shawn Atleo says. "The Harper government is slashing funding to several major aboriginal political organizations - including the Assembly of First Nations - a surprise move that the group's national chief says flies in the face of the government's stated intention to work with First Nations. A letter from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, sent to 43 Aboriginal representative organizations and obtained by Postmedia News, outlines changes to the way the groups will be funded, including sharp reductions in dollars." Ottawa Citizen

Oil company gives up exploration licenses in Canada's Mackenzie Delta. "MGM Energy Corp. has surrendered its exploration licenses in the Mackenzie Delta region of Canada's Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), saying without the Mackenzie pipeline, it can't get its natural gas and oil to markets. The plan to build a 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) pipeline down the Mackenzie Valley is on hold due to weak natural gas prices." Alaska Dispatch

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


The House Committee on Natural Resources' Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a subcommittee hearing on H.R. 2231, "The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act" (Hastings of WA) at 10 am. This legislation seeks to increase energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf. Additionally, it would provide for equitable revenue sharing for all coastal States and also implement the reorganization of the functions of the former Minerals Management Service into distinct and separate agencies. Committee Site

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 that would facilitate establishing strong cargo airship business commitments for cargo airship services for customers in Alaska and other Northern area customers. Workshops 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) will 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-