James Brooks

James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Afternoon traffic is seen in downtown Fairbanks on March 1. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

U.S. Department of Labor asks federal judge to force inspections of Fairbanks-area gold mine

By: - September 22, 2023

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is asking a U.S. District Court judge for an unusual court order requiring a Fairbanks gold mine to open its gates for inspectors. On Sept. 8, attorneys representing the Department of Labor asked Judge Josh Kindred for speedy consideration of their request. According to court documents, mine operator […]

With Alaska’s federal judge vacancy nearing 2-year mark, Sullivan breaks from nomination tradition

By: - September 22, 2023

Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has picked a nine-member panel to help him select nominees for a long-vacant federal judgeship in Alaska, eschewing the traditional process. In a written statement, Sullivan said the new Alaska Federal Judiciary Council will help “identify federal judiciary candidates of character, experience, and an unflinching commitment to the rule […]

Alaskans will receive a $1,312 Permanent Fund Dividend payment this year, near legislators’ estimate

By: - September 21, 2023

This year’s Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend will be $1,312. The Alaska Department of Revenue announced the figure Thursday, two weeks before the annual cash payments will be delivered by direct deposit. PFD applications that were filed electronically, slated for direct deposit and have been deemed eligible will be paid out Oct. 5.  The Department of […]

No special session this year on fiscal issues, Alaska legislators say

By: - September 21, 2023

The Alaska Legislature will not meet in a special session this fall to discuss a long-term fiscal plan for the state. Lawmakers had discussed the possibility of a special session in the spring, but in the last days of the regular session and in the following weeks, they drifted apart on key elements of a […]

Sun shines through the canopy in the Tongass National Forest. (Photo by Brian Logan/U.S. Forest Service)

In new challenges to Alaska forest’s ‘Roadless Rule,’ pro-logging arguments have disappeared

By: - September 20, 2023

The state of Alaska, a coalition of business groups and a pair of electric-power organizations have opened a new round in the generation-long fight over environmental protections in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. On Sept. 8, the state and two other groups of plaintiffs filed three separate federal lawsuits to challenge a Biden administration rule […]

an Alaska license plate in frame, with many overlapping renewal stickers in the upper right corner

Alaska DMV considers eliminating license plate stickers

By: - September 18, 2023

The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles is considering whether to eliminate the month and date registration stickers that adorn state license plates here. In a request for information published earlier this month, the division put out an open call for answers, asking about the pros and cons of the idea. The agency, through a spokesperson, […]

Alaska gains jobs during summer peak but is still below pre-pandemic figures

By: - September 18, 2023

Buoyed by a record tourist season, Alaska employers hired thousands more workers this year than they did during last year’s summer peak, but state employment remains stubbornly below what it was in 2019, figures from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development show. “We’re not there yet, and the reasons are a little murky,” […]

Alaska begins process of examining workers’ pay for competitiveness

By: - September 16, 2023

The state of Alaska has begun a sweeping analysis of state employees’ salaries to determine whether poor pay is contributing to ongoing hiring woes in the executive branch. On Thursday, the Alaska Department of Administration published a request for proposals, seeking a contractor to perform a comparison between state pay in Alaska, pay in the […]

Various types of cannabis are displayed at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary before the midnight start of recreational marijuana sales in June 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Alaska marijuana businesses, citing black market, plead for tax relief

By: - September 15, 2023

In an unusual offseason hearing, a committee of the Alaska Legislature considered a proposal on Friday that could lower the state tax on marijuana sold in the state. House Bill 119, considered Friday by the House Labor and Commerce Committee, would shift the state’s marijuana tax system from a tax per ounce to a sales […]

Study: Alaska is failing to keep most Alaska-born residents

By: - September 14, 2023

More than half of Alaskans born within the state have moved away, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.  A state’s ability to retain native-born residents is an indicator of its economic health and attractiveness, and Alaska ranked near the bottom of the analysis conducted […]

The front of the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

Two more Alaska ballot measures pass legal muster, but another is disqualified

By: - September 6, 2023

Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom on Friday approved two ballot measures and disqualified a third from advancing into the signature-gathering phase. The approved measures would impose new financial restrictions on political campaigns and grant an array of rights to workers, including mandatory sick leave, a higher minimum wage and the ability to opt out from […]

ConocoPhillips’ Willow project is in the northeast corner of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. (Map by USGS, Department of Interior)

ConocoPhillips says court case is likely do-or-die for Willow Arctic oil project

By: - September 1, 2023

In documents filed Tuesday in Anchorage, international oil company ConocoPhillips said an ongoing federal court case is likely to make or break Alaska’s largest planned oil development in decades. If Alaska District Court Judge Sharon Gleason cancels required federal approvals, “the Willow project is highly unlikely to proceed at all,” said Connor Dunn, vice president […]