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May 23, 2013

The Senate will hold a cloture vote on a judicial nomination and continue to work on amendments to a five-year farm policy bill. The House takes up a bill that would prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.


Russia to Urgently Evacuate Arctic Post as Ice Melts. Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Sergei Donskoi set a three-day deadline to draft a plan to evacuate the North Pole-40 floating research station, the ministry said in a statement. "The ice is disintegrating," a ministry spokeswoman told AFP. "Cracks appeared in the floe." The station is currently home to 16 personnel. Times LIVE


Science Arctic Bacteria Found Multiplying at Record -15 C. Bacteria that can live and multiply in High Arctic permafrost at temperatures well below the freezing point of water have been discovered by a Canadian-led team of researchers, offering clues about the types of organisms that might exist in similar extreme environments elsewhere in our solar system. The OR1 strain of the microbe Planococcus halocryophilus is capable of reproducing at -15 C - a record among all known living organisms - and may possibly be able to multiply at temperatures even colder than that, says a study published Wednesday in the ISME Journal. The bacteria remain active at temperatures as low as -25 C. CBC News


Papp Papp: Coast Guard Plans no Arctic Shoreside Infrastructure. The Coast Guard has no plans to build shoreside infrastructure in Arctic Alaska, at least not for the next decade, said its commandant, Adm. Robert Papp, while unveiling the service's first strategy for the Arctic on May 21. "There is a lack of shore infrastructure in the remote reaches of the Arctic, and the expense of building permanent infrastructure and the uncertainty of dynamic and evolving requirements have demanded that the Coast Guard rely on mobile offshore infrastructure to meet demands," Papp said, alluding to last summer, when the service sent ships northward in previously unprecedented numbers for a 4 month deployment. Papp spoke during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C. Fierce Homeland Security


EU Sets Limits on Oil Drilling Under Extreme Conditions. Greenpeace has cautiously welcomed the support of the European Parliament in its plenary vote for a new EU law on oil and gas offshore drilling, according to EUbusiness Ltd. The law will go some way to ensuring that oil companies limit drilling in harsh conditions such as those that exist in the Arctic, where cleaning up an oil spill is impossible; however long phase-in periods for existing operations leave room for concern. The Financial


Chinaflag Squaring the Arctic Circle. After years of persistent efforts, China has finally joined the international "club" which decides the rules for the Arctic region. At the Arctic Council's eighth ministerial meeting - held in Kiruna, Sweden, on May 15 - China was granted observer status, which is seen as a victory for China's geopolitical diplomacy in issues such as polar research and cooperation, and the Arctic's sustainable development in the light of climate change. China Daily


Backlash Against Greenland's Premier Over Arctic Council Boycott Continues. If there was a honeymoon period for Greenland's new premier Aleqa Hammond,elected March 12, it's over. The backlash against Hammond's decision to boycott the May 15 Arctic Council ministerial in Kiruna, Sweden continues. Since May 14 more than 30 online stories in Greenland's leading newspaper Sermitsiaq AG have dealt with her decision to boycott the ministerial and the reaction - and most of that appears to be critical. Nunatsiaq Online


Boost in Ship Costs, Retirement of Aircraft Backed by Panel. The House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee advanced its portion of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill Wednesday, endorsing a Navy proposal to raise the cost limit on an aircraft carrier that will be the most expensive piece of military equipment ever built. The subcommittee approved its section of the bill (HR 1960) by voice vote and without amendment in a markup that lasted less than 12 minutes. Congressional Quarterly


Anchorage Defendant Takes Stand in Final Day of Kuskokwim King Fishing Trial. As the last of the trials from last June's Rumble on the River wound to a close here Wednesday, with defense attorneys gone back to the comfort of Anchorage and some defendants missing as well, things got a little weird. The final defendant turned out to be from a village far, far away. Court began at 9 a.m., with black-haired Tom Carl from Tuluksak, population 373, left to sit alone at the defense table in handcuffs and a blue prison jumpsuit while the attorney defending him dialed in on her cellphone from somewhere to the south. Alaska Dispatch


In Hindsight, Manager of Ill-Fated Kulluk Says 2 Tugs Were Needed. Given the chance to do things differently, the rig manager for the Kulluk conical drilling unit would have used two powerful tug boats to ensure the rig made a safe winter crossing of the Gulf of Alaska last year. That's according to Todd Case, a 21-year Noble Drilling employee and the offshore installation manager who served as the manager of the Kulluk. He testified before the U.S. Coast Guard's marine casualty investigation in Anchorage on Wednesday. Investigators are probing the incident that left the Shell drilling rig grounded on Sitkalidak Island near Kodiak on New Year's Eve. Alaska Dispatch


Coast Guard Seal Coast Guard Lays Out Its Arctic Vision for the Next Decade. Earlier this week, the U.S. Coast Guard revealed its Arctic Strategy, a document that describes how the agency intends to contribute to the National Strategy for the Arctic Region signed by President Barack Obama earlier this month. Soon after the Coast Guard released its plan, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, announced his own contribution to the emerging needs of national defense at the top of the world in the Last Frontier: hand-me-down airplanes. Alaska Dispatch


Sound Science Can Protect Agriculture and Endangered Species. In a recent address at the National Association of Sciences (NAS), President Obama promised to shield science from political maneuvering and ideological agendas that too often undermine the integrity of the scientific process and taint public policy. "In all the sciences we have to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they aren't subject to politics; they are not skewed by an agenda ... that we make sure we go where the evidence leads us."  The Hill


US Supercomputers Need $400m Annual Boost for "Exascale" by 2020-Scientists. The United States will not develop advanced supercomputers until 2025 if current budget levels continue, placing the nation at least five years behind China, Japan and other competitors, scientists from the national laboratories told a House Science, Space and Technology panel yesterday. "They will exceed us by the end of the decade if we don't change" funding levels, Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director of computing, environment and life sciences at Argonne National Laboratory, told the Energy Subcommittee. E&E News 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events



The Promise of the Arctic, May 29-30, 2013. (Seattle, WA) The economic potential of the Arctic is one of the 'hottest' topics on the national-and international-economic agenda. But what is the true potential? The Promise of the Arctic is a policy-driven conference that seeks to explore the opportunities-and honestly expose the challenges-of the harsh Arctic environment. The goal of the conference is to identify real economic opportunities for the maritime industry, and the obstacles for maximizing the promise of the Arctic. Attendees will hear from economists and the financial sector, policymakers...and private sector maritime companies currently involved in the Arctic.


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."


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.


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.


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 sixprevious ice drilling technology workshops held between 1974 and 2006, the Seventh International Workship 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 - one that 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 on offer, 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, (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.


Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, (November 7-8, 2013) (Anchorage, Alaska). This workshop will bring together a diversity of stakeholders to advance a collective dialog 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 research scientific 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.


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