Arctic Daily Update: July 10, 2013
The event will be held at the Capital Yacht Club, 1000 Water St. SW, Washington, DC 20024, on July 10th, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. It's accessible from the L'Enfant or Waterfront metro stops. Tickets are $20, and include hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie options, side
dishes and two drink tickets. Register here"
Alaska seeks to advance ANWR plan dismissed by feds. "Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell on Tuesday escalated his fight with the Obama administration over potential oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by formally submitting a plan to conduct seismic research in the region. The 240-page application seeks approval to conduct 3-D seismic surveys in winter 2014, with the goal of better documenting the oil and gas potential of the refuge's 1.5-million-acre coastal plain." Anchorage Daily News
Palin tells Hannity she's 'considered' Senate race. "Alaska's most high-profile Republican, 2008 vice presidential candidate and former Gov. Sarah Palin, says she has 'considered' running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Mark Begich but she would like to see new candidates enter the race. Responding to a question from Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, Palin said Tuesday she's considered a run because people have asked her to." Anchorage Daily News
NMFS denies ribbon seal endangered species listing. "The federal government has rejected an endangered species listing for a seal species that relies on sea ice for molting and reproducing. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Tuesday that it has rejected listing ribbon seals as a threatened or endangered species despite evidence that its habitat is impacted by climate change." Anchorage Daily News
Bristling over 'federal overreach,' Alaska officials plan to fight back. "Two Alaska lawmakers are organizing a 'federal overreach summit' to give residents a chance to detail perceived abuses suffered at the hands of the Federales. The forum, proposed for two days in August, is another example of how state politicians are taking up arms against Washington, D.C., in a long-running feud that's heating up again on several fronts. Some $10 billion a year flows from the nation's capital to Alaska, making it nearly as important as the almighty oil industry that pays for most state services." Alaska Dispatch
Polar Star Headed For Arctic Ice Trials. "The United States' only heavy icebreaker will soon be back in service after a four-year, $90 million renovation. The USCGC Polar Star is scheduled to leave Unalaska Friday to undergo several weeks of ice trials in the Arctic." AlaskaPublic.org
USCG Cutter Polar Star (credit for photos to Ken Boda of the USCG)
Pebble to Murkowski: Mine plan too important to rush. "Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, this week called for the release of Pebble Partnership's detailed plans and a timeline for developing the Pebble Mine site near the headwaters of Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska. In a letter to the leaders of Pebble Partnership
released Tuesday, Murkowski said the group's inaction in the permitting process continues to cause anxiety and confusion in the Alaskan communities near the site, located nearly 200 miles southwest of Anchorage on one of the largest salmon runs in the world." Anchorage Daily News
Opinion: EPA's Pebble assessment sells Bristol Bay salmon short. "The science is clear in EPA's recent conservative Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment: Alaskans would trade our sustainable salmon resources for a nonrenewable, privately owned mineral resource and a highly risky perpetual waste and catastrophic threat management problem." Alaska Dispatch
House kills Dem proposals on environment, renewable energy. "The House on Tuesday evening voted down two Democratic amendments to the 2014 energy and water bill aimed at giving the Obama administration flexibility to impose environmental regulations, and others aimed at boosting funding for renewable energy programs. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) proposed two of these amendments to the bill, H.R. 2609, both of which were rejected in roll call votes." The Hill
Alaska Satellite Facility debuts new image collection. "A treasure trove of new images is now available through the Alaska Satellite Facility Distributed Active Archive Center... The new downloadable digital imagery will enable scientists to travel back in time for research on oceans, sea ice, volcanoes, forests, land cover, glaciers and more. Before now, only approximately 20 percent of Seasat SAR data was processed digitally." Phys.org
Russian Oil Behemoth Rosneft Has Unlocked the Arctic. "Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia's vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so. Russia's Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell's platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia's Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra." Motherboard
Yesterday, the House of Representatives debated and voted on amendments to H.R. 2609, the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy-Water Appropriations bill, which President Obama has threatened to veto over reductions in renewable energy research funding (see The Hill article above).
The U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) are co-hosting this 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.
Meeting is open to all. Registration is $175. DOD participants can register and pay for this without special approval. The meeting is co-sponsored by the DOD, and in your internal request document, we've been advised that you should indicate that this activity is a "Review of Arctic Change Impacts." For Navy personnel, this means that approval by the DoN/AA is NOT needed.
Among the many confirmed speakers are:
Alaskan Senators (Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich)
Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Meeting, August 28-29, 2013 (Unalaska, Alaska). The 3rd meeting of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission will, among other things, continue its mission to positively influence federal Arctic policy. "Toward that end, the Commission will compile a list of all the current federal programs that directly affect Arctic Alaska and Arctic policy, and track and thoroughly investigate each program. These findings will inform the Commission's Final Report."
Arctic Exchange, September 16-17, 2013 (Stockholm). "The Exchange brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery. The concept 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 offered, 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, 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 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."
The 2nd Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS Workshop) "School for Young Arctic Researchers," and "Arctic Scientists Workshop," October 21-25 2013 (Woods Hole, MA). "The Forum for Arctic Ocean Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) is an international effort to focus on enhancing collaboration and coordination among arctic marine and sea ice modelers, theoreticians, and observationalists. This collaboration is based on a set of activities starting from generating hypotheses, to planning research including both observations and modeling, and to finalizing analyses synthesizing major results from the field studies and coordinated numerical experiments.
The major themes of this year's workshop include, but are not limited by studies focused on:
- Sea ice conditions (drift, thickness and concentration)
- Atmospheric conditions and circulation regimes
- Circulation of surface, Pacific and Atlantic water layers
- State and future of freshwater and heat content
- Horizontal and vertical mixing
- Process studies and parameterizations
- Model validation and calibration
- Numerical improvements and algorithms
- Ecosystems, biological issues, and geochemistry"
More info is available at the project's website: www.whoi.edu/projects/FAMOS
Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders 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."