(Chris Freiberg/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 1 August 2010) -- FAIRBANKS - The Senate Commerce Committee last week approved several provisions to a bill last week that Sen. Mark Begich says will promote “responsible resource development” in the Arctic. The provisions are part of the Securing Health for Oceans Resource and Environment Act, or SHORE. Provisions introduced by Begich include authorizing the Coast Guard to increase preparedness in case of an oil spill in Beaufort and Chukchi Sea and increasing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research into the effects of an oil spill in Arctic waters. Begich, a Democrat, also proposed establishing an Arctic Regional Citizens Advisory Council that will provide a greater local participation in oil development. The council is based on similar groups established in Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet after the 1986 Exxon Valdez disaster, according to the senator’s office. “The SHORE Act takes a big step forward in the ability of federal and private entities to prevent and respond to oil spills,” Begich said in a statement. “It also finally recognizes the steps we need to take now in the Arctic to ensure responsible oil and gas development off Alaska’s northern coast, including increased citizen participation early in the development process to help avoid the endless lawsuits that have halted Arctic development in recent years."
Posted 1 August 2010; 11:06:17 AM. Permalink
(Iceland Review, 31 July 2010) -- The Icelandic Seal Center organized a seal counting initiative in the inner Húnaflói bay in northwest Iceland last weekend. A total of 1,054 seals were counted, compared to 1,019 last year. Thirty people participated in the initiative, 25 of whom were volunteers. Most people walked along the shore but others counted seals from horseback. A few of those counting were onboard the seal-watching boat Brimill, visir.is reports. The counting took two hours and started two hours before low tide. Areas were counted at the same time to prevent the seals from being counted twice. The initiative always takes place at the end of July when the weather is good and it is most likely to find seals lying on the beach. Click here to read more about the Seal Center and seal watching tours.
Posted 1 August 2010; 10:48:26 AM. Permalink