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.”

Russia opens Siberian pipeline to China as Beijing expands its influence in the Arctic

From: CNBC

  • The pipeline comes after China unveiled a plan nearly two years ago called the “Polar Silk Road,” expanding its campaign for influence to the Arctic.
  • The resource-rich region is at the heart of the geopolitical battle and struggle for influence.
  • As Moscow’s relationship with Western countries becomes more frail, Russian business leaders look for more economic opportunities with China, especially in energy.

Grace Shao

A new natural gas pipeline connecting Russia and China is the latest example of increasing collaboration between Moscow and Beijing in the Arctic Circle.

Iceland begins its Arctic Council chairmanship with a focus on observers

From: Nunatsiaq News

The current chair says the ‘meaningful engagement’ of the Arctic Council’s 39 observers is an asset to the region

By Kevin McGwin/Arctic Today

Iceland is seeking to leverage growing interest in the Arctic to improve the living conditions in the region through greater involvement of the organization’s observers.

“There is general agreement that observers should have some kind of meaningful engagement. The trick is how to do that. Iceland,” said Einar Gunnarsson, an Icelandic diplomat currently responsible for directing the work of the Arctic Council. “Iceland is focused on the council’s engagement with observers. But we are talking about two-way engagement.”

Is the Arctic Council a Paper Polar Bear?Podcast: China as a ‘near-Arctic’ state

From: High North News

With more meetings and reports of meetings, is the poster child of Arctic governance overrated? Has the Arctic Council become a paper polar bear – outwardly powerful, but inwardly ineffectual?

Last week, more than 120 Arctic experts and politicians gathered in the small town of Hveragerði in Southern Iceland for the first SAO plenary meeting since the Arctic Council’s passed from Finland to Iceland earlier this year in Rovaniemi.

Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Regulatory Resource

The Protection of Arctic Marine Environment working Group, or PAME, is one of six Arctic Council working groups.  PAME describes itself as “the focal point of the Arctic Council’s activities related to the protection and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment and provides a unique forum for collaboration on a wide range of activities in this regard.”

PAME maintains an Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Regulatory Resource, which goes by the acronym AOOGRR.  The AOOGRR website explains that it is

“A Legal Regime Web-Based Information Resource

Why Is There So Much Oil in the Arctic?

Editor’s note: Live Science posted the above-titled article by Emma Bryce.  It reds in part as follows:

“In 2007, two Russian submarines plunged down 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) into the Arctic Ocean and planted a national flag onto a piece of continental shelf known as the Lomonosov Ridge. Rising from the center of the Arctic Basin, the flag sent a clear message to the surrounding nations: Russia had just laid claim to the vast oil and gas reserves contained in this underwater turf.

PAME II 2019 Meeting Report

The Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (“PAME”) 2nd biannual meeting of 2019 (PAME II-2019) was held at the University of Iceland, and the island of Viðey, from 9-12 September. Monday 9 September was dedicated to pre-meetings of PAME’s five thematic expert groups (shipping, marine protected areas, ecosystem approach, marine litter, and resource exploration and development). There follows PAME’s report on “Arctic Offshore Resource Exploration and Development,” one of the topics discussed at the meeting: