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Issue

Volume 43, Issue 10 — October 2013

Articles

Understanding the Government-to-Government Consultation Framework for Agency Activities That Affect Marine Natural Resources in the U.S. Arctic

by Greta Swanson, Kathryn Mengerink, and Jordan Diamond

Alaska Natives work with the federal government in managing resources in the Arctic. Federal consultation with tribes is one of the ways that such cooperative management can be achieved. Existing federal-level policies require consultation with tribes when federal agencies make decisions affecting tribal interests in Alaska. Taking into account the unique circumstances for tribes in Alaska, it is necessary to explore existing consultation policies and procedures, highlighting those that strengthen the underlying framework and how consultation occurs in practice.

Collaborative Decisionmaking in the Arctic Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and a Proposal for Enhanced Support From the Federal Government

by Christopher G. Winter

The Alaska Native communities of the American Arctic rely upon their ancient subsistence practices for their food security, the continuation of their cultural traditions, and their physical and spiritual well-being. Industry interest in offshore resources will inevitably lead to potential conflicts with the historic subsistence uses of Alaska Natives. In order to resolve those conflicts, the federal government and stakeholders must bring to the table a clear understanding of the legal context as well as the unique community-led dispute resolution processes that have developed within that setting.

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Beaufort Sea: Inuit Involvement in Offshore Oil and Gas Decisions in Alaska and the Western Canadian Arctic

by Betsy Baker

In 2013, do the Inuit on either side of the U.S.-Canada Beaufort Sea maritime boundary have better tools for taking more meaningful part in decisions relating to offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic than they did in the wake of the 2010 Macondo/Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill? A review of legal and policy developments in both countries over that three-year period allows the conclusion that U.S. and Canadian officials have taken incremental but non- ystematic steps that improve modestly Inuit involvement in their respective regulatory processes for Arctic offshore oil and gas activities.

Arctic Marine Subsistence Use Mapping: Tools for Communities

by Layla Hughes, Maryann Fidel, and Jim Gamble

Identifying marine areas of significance for Arctic communities is crucial for preventing future conflicts between coastal communities and marine-based industries. The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report recommends that states conduct surveys on Arctic marine use by indigenous communities to help assess impacts from Arctic shipping activities. Arctic indigenous use mapping practices employed to date include a range of practices used in mapping the indigenous use of Arctic marine resources. Techniques employed in both the terrestrial and marine context can inform a methodology developed specifically for marine use mapping. 

A Pioneering Effort in the Design of Process and Law Supporting Integrated Arctic Ocean Management

by Jessica S. Lefevre

Offshore oil and gas development in arctic Alaska carries a high risk of interference with nutritionally and culturally critical bowhead whale subsistence hunting. Since the mid-1980s, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission has engaged offshore oil and gas exploration and development companies, including oil majors, in an annual process of collaboration and negotiation to create mitigation measures capable of avoiding adverse impacts to bowhead whales, habitat, and hunting opportunities. The process, founded on local ecological knowledge and western science, has become a staple of offshore oil and gas development in arctic Alaska. In addition to avoiding adverse impacts to subsistence uses that are protected under federal law, this highly efficient process also reduces conflicts that might otherwise slow offshore permitting.

Comment(s)

The Inuit Future: Food Security, Economic Development, and U.S. Arctic 
Policy

by Jim Stotts

Global climate change, with its resulting loss of sea ice, has opened up access to the Arctic Ocean as never before. Moreover, the rate of global warming and the pace of development are accelerating. Stakeholders have different ideas on how to handle these changes. Depending on one’s perspective, the pace of development seems to be either too fast or too slow; and, like most contentious issues, the best solutions may lie somewhere in the middle. 

Arctic Stewardship: The Evolution of a New Model for International Governance

by William M. Eichbaum

The eight Arctic countries, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States, are in the initial phases of a profound journey to devise novel mechanisms through which they can collectively assure wise stewardship of the Arctic. This journey is urgent because the Arctic now faces dramatic changes that for the first time in millennia will transform the essential fabric of the region. These changes are not only fundamental, they are happening with unprecedented speed. The Arctic is more deeply affected by the warming of the earth’s atmosphere than almost any other region, notable among the many changes are the fact that Arctic temperatures have increased at twice the rate of the global average and as a result, summer sea ice may well disappear within a decade. The disappearance of the ice will result in dramatic changes, not the least of which is that for the first time in human history, the region will be readily accessible, thereby allowing for exploitation of its abundant resources by a global economy hungry for natural resources.