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Arctic Daily Update: February 6, 2013

Today's Events

The House considers a bill that would require the president to submit a supplemental budget to reach balance if the one he submits for fiscal 2014 does not show a path to a balanced budget. The Senate is not in session while the parties hold their policy retreats. The chamber reconvenes Thursday.

Media 

Obama to Nominate CEO of Outdoor Gear Retailer REI to Become Interior Secretary. President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) chief executive Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department, according to a White House official who asked not to be identified because the public announcement has not yet been made. The choice of Jewell, who began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before heading a nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company, represents an unconventional choice for a post usually reserved for career politicians from the West. Washington Post

A Message to Interior Employees. The Interior Department's message to its employees, issued last night by the deputy secretary's office and obtained by E&E Daily, sketches out in broad terms what the consequences of sequestration may be. The memo appears to mirror a similar one that OMB has shared with agencies throughout the federal government, according to published reports. "We will use any and all flexibilities we have to protect our core operations and mission," the Interior memo reads. "However, our ability to do so will be limited by the rigid nature of the cuts imposed by Congress." E&E News

Panel Plans Early Oversight on EPA Climate Regs as Dems Call for Science Hearings. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning a hearing as soon as this month to question U.S. EPA officials about the agency's impending regulations to address climate change, while its top Democrat says the panel needs to better focus on the science linking greenhouse gas emissions to rising temperatures and weather disasters. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee's ranking member, plans to offer an amendment today to the pending Energy and Commerce panel's oversight plan for the 113th Congress that would make climate science a central focus of the committee's effort. E&E News 

EPA Plans Final Bristol Bay Assessment this Year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue a final report this year on the impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region, regional director Dennis McLerran said.McLerran spoke Tuesday to the Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage. In his prepared remarks, he said the EPA plans to release a revised draft report this spring for public comment and additional peer review. The EPA said it will consider the additional input as it prepares its final report. Anchorage Daily News

Report: Warming Bringing Big Changes to Forests. Big changes are in store for the nation's forests as global warming increases wildfires and insect infestations, and generates more frequent floods and droughts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns in a report released Tuesday. The compilation of more than 1,000 scientific studies is part of the National Climate Assessment and will serve as a roadmap for managing national forests across the country in coming years. Anchorage Daily News

Northern Indigenous Herders Fete National Day. The indigenous Sami people of Europe's Arctic region are celebrating their national day amid worries that their ancient traditions based on reindeer herding will disappear. Once oppressed, most Sami now live modern lifestyles, and few still herd reindeer. But many wore their traditional brightly colored costumes Wednesday as they celebrated their ancient culture at song and dance events across the Nordic countries. New Jersey Herald 

Environment Ministers of Arctic States Meet to Discuss Climate. For the first time, environment ministers of member countries of the Arctic Council are holding a meeting in a mine to discuss issues related to the region in the polar town of Kiruna in northern Sweden. On the first day yesterday, the politicians heard and discussed expert reports on the development of economy and multilateral cooperation in the Arctic region. "It is important to fix environmental issues in the Arctic cooperation," said Swedish environment minister Lena Ek. Times of India

Two Russian Strategic Bombers Effectively Patrol Arctic Water Area. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the bombers took off from the airbase in the city of Engels, on the Volga River, and were in the air for over 20 hours. They followed a route over the neutral waters. While flying their mission, the crews were refuelled via mid-air refueling twice. Voice of Russia

Arctic Nations' Oil Spill Plans Too Vague-Environmentalists. Plans by Arctic nations to start cooperating over oil spills are vague and fail to define corporate liability for any accidents in an icy region opening up to oil and gas exploration due to global warming, environmentalists said on Monday. A 21-page document by the eight-nation Arctic Council, seen by Reuters and due to be approved in May, says countries in the region "shall maintain a national system for responding promptly and effectively to oil pollution incidents." It does not say what that means in terms of staff, ships, clean-up equipment or corporate liability in a remote region that the U.S. Geological Survey estimates has 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered gas. Reuters

Warm Weather Forces Changes Ahead of Iditarod Race. By 9:30 most mornings here in the world's unofficial dog-sledding capital, Luan Marques has harnessed 10 Alaskan huskies to his sled and shot off into the awakening woods for a training ride, his sights set on the famous Iditarod competition next month. The thick, powdery blanket of snow on the trails and the frigid temperatures have made a musher haven out of Willow, where locals joke that dogs outnumber humans. But as Marques rode this winter, he and his huskies trudged over dirt patches and bramble, surrounded by tree branches that once held fluffy snow. Instead of subzero conditions, which are ideal for the sport, temperatures have been in the 30s and 40s. New York Times

Legislative Action 

No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                      

 

Alaska Native Language Archive, February 22, 2013, Fairbanks. Please join ANLA and the Rasmuson Library for a Grand Opening Celebration to dedicate the new ANLA public service point on the second floor of the Rasmuson Library. The event will begin with an open house featuring collections in the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, the Oral History Collection, and of course ANLA. This will be followed by a special panel session entitled Honoring Alaska's Native Languages: Past, Present, Future, reflecting on 50 years of Native language archiving at UAF.

The 43rd Annual Arctic Workshop 2013, March 11-13, 2013: Amherst, Massachusetts. The workshop is an annual gathering for international researchers to present work on any aspect of high-latitude environments (past, present, and future). Organizers strive for a relaxed, friendly, and interactive experience, fostered in part by the workshop's relatively small size. Researchers are invited to present their very latest research; the abstract deadline is just a few weeks before the workshop. Student participation is strongly encouraged, with partial support available to those making presentations (limited number of slots). 

The Economist's "Arctic Summit: A New Vista for Trade Energy and the Environment," March 12, 2013. (Oslo, Norway) The event is hosted by The Economist. The Arctic Summit will discuss big issues concerning the region: chase for natural resources, impact of climate change, emergence of new trading routes and the need for responsible governance. The summit has been designed to focus attention and to promote constructive thinking prior to the next Arctic Council Ministers' meeting in 2013. A high-level group of 150 policy-makers, CEOs and influential commentators will spend a day tackling the issues at the heart of the Arctic's future, in discussions led by James Astill, environment editor of The Economist and author of the special report on the Arctic.

28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes

and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors. 

Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.
One of them is already planned: The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will offer a one-day career development workshop during the ASSW 2013. Details will be published closer to the event:http://www.apecs.is/apecs-meetings-a-events/assw-2013.

American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics.

 

Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.

 

International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.

AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) 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. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.

 

USARC • 4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510 • Arlington, Virginia 22203 USA • 703.525.0111 • info@arctic.gov  arctic.gov

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