Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal

Nathaniel Herz, Northern Journal

Nathaniel Herz is a freelance reporter who’s spent a decade as a journalist in Alaska, including stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. His articles published in the Alaska Beacon first appeared in his newsletter, Northern Journal, at

You miss every shot that you don’t take. (Courtesy John Farra/U.S. Biathlon Association)

Want to ski, shoot, and hang out with Anchorage Olympians? Try biathlon.

By: - December 4, 2023

Once upon a time, I was a serious, though definitively not successful, cross-country skier. I raced for my college team in Maine, then kept at it afterward and one time finished 17th (I think, I can’t find the results any more) at the Tour of Anchorage, which is just good enough to sound kind of […]

A vessel approaches Hilcorp’s Tyonek offshore platform in Cook Inlet, where the company was using the Spartan 151 drilling rig last summer. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz/Northern Journal)

There’s lots of gas in Cook Inlet — here’s why some companies aren’t drilling

By: - November 29, 2023

One way out of Alaska’s impending natural gas shortage could sit under the ocean floor, a few miles north and offshore of the Kenai Peninsula community of Anchor Point. There, a company says it’s sitting on an enormous pool of natural gas, equivalent to years of supply for Alaska’s power plants and home heating systems. […]

Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox mine, is seen from space. (Google/Maxar Technologies, Airbus)

Mining exec: Alaska’s pricy, fossil fuel-based power could thwart investment

By: - November 21, 2023

Steep electricity prices and heavy dependence on fossil fuels to generate power risk discouraging development of new mining projects in Alaska. That’s the blunt message that representatives of Alaska’s natural resource development industries heard from a mining executive at a recent conference. “As our company and other mining companies look at opportunities for growth, these […]

U.S. and Australian aircraft sit on the tarmac at Eielson Air Force Base outside Fairbanks during an exercise earlier this year. (Jose Miguel Tamondong/354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. military quietly revokes planned contract for small nuclear plant at Alaska Air Force base

By: - November 18, 2023

The U.S. military has rescinded the preliminary award of what could be a nine-figure contract with the company it had tentatively selected to build a small-scale nuclear power plant at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks. The Department of the Air Force and the Defense Logistics Agency in August announced an “intent to award” the […]

Monthly premiums for health insurance on the federal marketplace will rise 16% in Alaska next year

By: - November 16, 2023

Monthly bills for Alaskans using the federal health insurance marketplace are set to rise some 16% in 2024 — coming on top of an 18% increase in the previous year that, in total, will bump up costs by more than one-third in a two-year span. Higher overall health-care costs and a post-pandemic spike in the […]

Yakutat ousted its village corporations’ leaders. Here’s what’s next.

By: - November 15, 2023

The saga in the Southeast Alaska village of Yakutat is over. Or, it’s just starting. After years of conflict, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Laura Hartz in October certified that a group of dissident shareholders had won an election and ousted the pro-logging board of Yakutat’s Indigenous-owned village corporation, Yak-Tat Kwaan. A Yak-Tat Kwaan subsidiary, Yak […]

A Hilcorp drilling rig sits at a pad last summer on the shore of Cook Inlet outside of Anchorage, where the region gets the natural gas it uses for heating and electricity. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

More legislators press AG on Cook Inlet gas, a $750,000 settlement and an Aleutian murder mystery

By: - November 13, 2023

More state legislators are asking GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to press urban Alaska’s largest natural gas producer, Hilcorp, to extract more of the fossil fuel from its leases in Cook Inlet. Anchorage Democratic Rep. Zack Fields led a group of 14 mostly Democratic representatives and three senators in drafting a letter and sending it […]

The Sealaska building is seen in downtown Juneau on November 10, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Sealaska’s chief executive to depart, but company says its strategy will stay the same

By: - November 10, 2023

Southeast Alaska’s regional Native corporation, Sealaska, announced a major transition this week: Its longtime chief executive, Anthony Mallott, will leave the company next year. Mallott, son of the late Byron Mallott — a former lieutenant governor and longtime Tlingit leader — has worked at Sealaska since 2008, and as its chief executive since 2014. He […]


Apache’s return to the North Slope, AIDEA’s pro-Pebble legal contract and the death of snow days

By: - November 7, 2023

In her first detailed public statements about the incident, the skipper of the boat that last year challenged a float plane in the Kachemak Bay hamlet of Halibut Cove said she acted because the plane’s pilot had ignored community safety rules and put residents at risk. Marian Tillion Beck said she “was so upset that […]

This oil and gas offshore infrastructure is located in Cook Inlet. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz/Northern Journal)

If Alaska wants more Cook Inlet gas, taxpayers should get ready to pony up

By: - November 3, 2023

Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, flanked by deputies, recently announced part of his proposed incentive package aimed at rejuvenating natural gas production in Cook Inlet, the declining petroleum basin outside Anchorage. The proposal, which would need legislative approval, comes with some urgency because urban Alaskans depend on Cook Inlet gas to heat their homes and […]

Salmon strips hang in a smokehouse. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz/Northern Journal)

With little movement on salmon bycatch, Alaska advocates look to Biden administration for action

By: - October 31, 2023

Amid catastrophic shortfalls in salmon harvests in some of Alaska’s rural, Indigenous communities, advocates have pleaded for a crackdown on unintentional catch of those same salmon by the trawl vessels that harvest billions of pounds of whitefish in the Bering Sea. But the politically appointed regional council that manages Bering Sea fisheries has largely resisted […]

Power lines stretch toward Anchorage from the base of Dghelishla, also known as Mt. Susitna. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz/Northern Journal)

Restaurant owner pleads guilty in Kachemak Bay seaplane case while state contracts with McKinsey

By: - October 16, 2023

I took a break earlier this month, but now I’m back in full force for the fall, with some fun stories on my agenda. This edition covers subjects including a plea deal in a high-profile criminal case; a contract between Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company; an array of […]