“Arctic Marine Risk Assessment Launched”

Editor’s note: The Arctic Council recently posted the above-titled article, which reads in part as follows:

“The Guideline aims to improve safety of Arctic marine operations by incorporating Arctic-specific risk factors not covered by existing guidelines.

EPPR released a press release for launching a Guideline for Arctic Marine Risk Assessment, which is a web based tool for conducting Arctic marine risk assessments. The guideline contains best practice methods and data sources for conducting regional and area-wide risk assessments concerned with ship traffic and operations in the Arctic. The guideline aims to improve and ease the process of conducting Arctic-specific risk assessments by creating a common ground and incorporating unique Arctic risk factors. The Guideline was developed in cooperation by EPPR, Norwegian Coastal Administration and DNV GL.”

More Time to Comment on 5-Year Arctic Research Plan

On April 3, 2020, the National Science Foundation, on behalf of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), announced a request for information regarding development of the next 5-year Arctic Research Plan: 2022–2026, originally open for a 90-day public comment period. In response to the challenges of providing input on the next 5-year Arctic Research Plan: 2022–2026 during the current global pandemic, IARPC is extending the public comment period for an additional 30 days. Click here for more information and relevant links.

EPPR Releases the First Guideline for Arctic Marine Risk Assessment

The Guideline aims to improve safety of Arctic marine operations by incorporating Arctic-specific risk factors not covered by existing guidelines

17 April 2020

Editor’s note: The Arctic Council released the following press release, which reads as follows:
“The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group of the Arctic Council today released its Guideline for Arctic Marine Risk Assessment. The guideline contains best practice methods and data sources for conducting regional and area-wide risk assessments concerned with ship traffic and operations in the Arctic. The guideline aims to improve and ease the process of conducting Arctic-specific risk assessments by creating a common ground and incorporating unique Arctic risk factors.

“Defining the Chinese Threat in the Arctic” By Yun Sun

Editor’s note, the Arctic Institute published the above-titled article, which reads in part as follows:

“The Arctic is emerging as a new domain for the strategic rivalry between the United States and China. As China expands its engagement in the Arctic, the implications of its presence and activities are an increasingly debated topic in the United States, among the Arctic states, and globally. China has claimed benevolent intentions in peace, development, and improving Arctic governance. However, given the opaqueness of China’s decision-making and capability development, many American policymakers and observers, if not most, remain skeptical or even hostile toward China’s potential in the Arctic. A solid strategy on China in the Arctic should begin with a well-defined and well-articulated concrete threat perception by Washington.

Comment on IARPC 5-Year Arctic Research Plan

The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), which is chaired by the National Science Foundation, seeks public input on the content and organization of the next 5- year Arctic Research Plan: 2022–2026.  Written comments must be submitted no later than July 2, 2020.

Court Amends Scheduling Order in Alaska Oil and Gas Seismic Cook Inlet Case to Accommodate Likely New ESA Citizen Suit Claim involving Consultation for Beluga Whale

On February 15, 2020, the parties filed a stipulated motion to revise the court’s scheduling order in the case Cook Inlet v. Ross (District Alaska).

Cook Inletkeeper and Center for Biological Diversity have sued Federal Defendants Wilbur Ross and James Balsiger, in their official capacities, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) in Alaska federal district court. Hilcorp Alaska, LLC and the State of Alaska have intervened in the case, which currently involves the plaintiffs’ challenge to an oil and gas seismic take permit for Cook Inlet, Alaska, that NMFS issued under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.  The Plaintiffs claim risk to Cook Inlet beluga whales.

Government Files Voluminous Record in Alaska Oil and Gas Seismic Case

The Cook Inletkeeper and Center for Biological Diversity have sued th U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and its parent agency Department of Commerce.  Their suit is filed in the United District Court for the District of Alaska. They are challenging a regulation that permits the oil and gas company Hilcorp Alaska LLC to “take” marine mammals incidental to oil and gas exploration and development activities in Cook Inlet, Alaska, including 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) seismic airgun blasting. The term “take” has the definition in, and the regulation is issued under, the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Podcast: China as a ‘near-Arctic’ state

From: ChinaDialog/Ocean

Episode two of China’s Polar Frontiers by Sustainable Asia looks at how climate change is opening up new opportunities in the frozen north

Is This the End of the Arctic Council and Arctic Governance as We Know It?

From: High North News

Those of us who deeply care about the Arctic Council and the future of the Arctic should be aware of what is happening and should do our utmost to speak for the values the Arctic Council represents, urges Timo Koivurova, former advisor to the Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

In the Arctic, climate change and hopeful signs

From: University at Buffalo Now

Global climate change is transforming the world’s ecosystems, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Arctic region, say three UB faculty members, editors of a wide-ranging new book on the subject.

“Some have come to view the Arctic as the earth’s ‘environmental canary,’” write the editors of “The Big Thaw: Policy, Governance, and Climate Change in the Circumpolar North” (SUNY Press). “In days gone by, when a caged canary taken into mines stopped singing, coal miners knew that the carbon monoxide gas level was so high that they had to escape the chamber. The thawing Arctic may be the earth’s early warning system.”