Arctic Update Header
September 25, 2013

The Senate will continue debate on the Continuing Resolution passed by the House of Representatives last week. The House returns today to debate four bills under suspension of the rules.



Greenpeace activists are no pirates, but they broke the law - Putin. "'I don't know what really happened [at Prirazlomnaya], but it is obvious that they are not pirates. But formally they tried to take over the platform', Putin said. According to the President, the situation in the Pechora Sea could have been rather hard to understand: 'Our law enforcement organs, our border guards did not understand who were trying to take over the platform, pretending to be Greenpeace. On the background of what recently happened in Kenya, it could have been anyone'. But it is totally clear that these people were violating international law when they approached the platform, breaking the safety distance." Barents Observer 


Arctic leaders talk tapping riches without ruining environment. "Finding a way to extract the vast riches of the Arctic region without subjecting it to technological disasters is what leaders of Arctic countries, businessmen, scientists and environmentalists discuss at a forum in Russia. The Arctic is the potential source of natural resources in unparalleled quantities: primarily hydrocarbons, but also fish, fresh water and minerals. Under the frigid waters some 20 per cent of world oil reserves and 30 per cent of natural gas reserves are thought to be awaiting extraction. And the rapid climate change makes those previously economically unfeasible or technologically inaccessible riches more attractive." RT 


Salmon Farmed vs. wild salmon: Can you taste the difference? "Read a story about salmon, and the odds are good that, somewhere, it'll tell you that wild salmon tastes better than farmed. But does it? We decided to find out in a blind tasting, and assembled a panel that included noted Washington seafood chefs and a seafood wholesaler. The fish swam the gamut. We had wild king from Washington, frozen farmed from Costco, and eight in between, including Verlasso farmed salmon from Chile, which is the first open-pen farmed salmon to get a Seafood Watch 'buy' recommendation. The tasters came from the Food section and the local seafood scene." Washington Post 


Alaska commercial fishermen shatter all-time salmon harvest record. "By mid-September, Alaska's record commercial salmon harvest had surpassed a staggering 269 million fish -- more than 21 percent above the previous mark. The pink harvest of 216 million fish also was way beyond the previous record of 161 million humpies in 2005 -- an increase of some 34 percent. Preliminary harvest totals published by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game also put the sockeye salmon catch at 29.5 million fish, the silver harvest at 4.9 million fish and the king salmon harvest at 307,000 fish." Alaska Dispatch 


Seldom spoken truth in subsistence battle: How unproductive Alaska lands really are. "'Alaska's long, bitter subsistence battle is back in the news again. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, last week called a hearing to discuss how to resolve an issue that has divided Alaskans for decades. 'One area of agreement is that things aren't working as promised,' she said. What she failed to note, however, is that it now appears things are never going to work, short of some dramatic recession that depopulates the 49th state.'" Alaska Dispatch 


BLM confirms strategy for old Alaska well cleanup. "The Bureau of Land Management will focus on 16 high priority sites as part of its strategy for cleaning up old exploratory wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Another 34 wells in the 35,635-square mile reserve on Alaska's North Slope will be remediated as money is made available, the agency said in releasing its plan for NPR-A legacy wells. 'While this final plan lays out an aggressive strategy to address 16 of our highest priority wells, we continue to work with our partners to determine the next steps on the remaining wells requiring remediation,' BLM Alaska director Bud Cribley said." Anchorage Daily News 


Global warming could unleash disease in Arctic - Russian scientist. "Melting permafrost and warmer temperatures in the Arctic could trigger the release of both known and new infectious diseases in the region, a Russian scientist warned Tuesday. Speaking at 'The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue' forum, Boris Revich from the Moscow-based Institute of Forecasting said it is essential to carry out research now in order to reduce the risks of outbreaks. 'There is a risk that the melting of the permafrost could release the anthrax virus from thawed cattle burial grounds,' Revich said. 'We need to understand whether it's a risk, whether we can forecast it or whether we can forget about it.'" RIA Novosti 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.


Future Events


Pacific Rim Institute Panel Discussion: Environmental Permitting Process Risks and Efficiency, October 4, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "Hosted by Pacific Rim Institute, the discussion brings together Alaska's regulating, regulated, science and NGO communities to identify realistic and achievable actions that could help sustain and enhance investment into responsible resource development projects while maintaining full compliance with environmental laws. The group will be asked to comment on the record of effectiveness, what is working well and what could be improved, to identify priorities and action items. Consistent with PRI's mission, the meeting aims to promote trust and to reduce uncertainly around regulatory risks by encouraging predictable, efficient, rigorous permitting process, while highlighting consequences of, what some may call, arbitrary or untimely decisions." 


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 Arctic Circle, an open assembly for international cooperation on Arctic issues, will hold its first gathering October 12-14, 2013, at the Harpa Reykjav