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

Chugach Electric Association board members meet in December at the cooperative’s Anchorage headquarters. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

A Ph.D. energy analyst and former state lawmaker got screened out from running for Anchorage’s electric utility board — without an explanation

By: - March 2, 2023

Antony Scott has three graduate degrees, including a doctorate in natural resource economics, and he once served on the commission that regulates Alaska utilities. That wasn’t enough for the nominating committee of Anchorage’s member-owned electrical cooperative, which recently rejected Scott’s bid to run for Chugach Electric Association’s board of directors. Scott now works as a […]

A timber harvest site is seen in Yakutat. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

Letter from Yakutat: Deep cuts on the Lost Coast

By: - February 13, 2023

Centuries ago, a few dozen Alaska Natives left their home on an epic migration. They were of Ahtna descent, and their trip began in Alaska’s Interior, in the Copper River watershed. They passed through some of the most rugged terrain in the world, and for a period of years, the group lived in the vicinity […]

The dance group from Anaktuvuk Pass performs Saturday at Kivgiq in Utqiaġvik. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

After four years, joy in Utqiaġvik at the messenger feast’s return

By: - February 6, 2023

It had been four years since the last maġlak at Kivgiq. When his time finally came Saturday, Jimmy Oyagak couldn’t wait.  As an Iñupiaq dance group from the North Slope village of Wainwright drummed, he stood on the floor in the high school gymnasium here before a crowd of hundreds, shaking a whaling harpoon and […]

Tanner crab like this one are the subject of a standoff between fishermen and processing companies in Kodiak. (NOAA Fisheries)

Inside Kodiak’s crab standoff

By: - January 27, 2023

After the heat wave-induced collapse of the Bering Sea snow crab fishery, some fishermen were looking, with hope, at the upcoming tanner crab harvest out of Kodiak. The nearly 6-million-pound quota was the highest in decades. And some people spent more than $100,000 to buy a permit to fish this year, said Kevin Abena, one […]

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announces his new push into carbon markets at a news conference Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at his Anchorage office. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

Alaska wants to profit by leaving timber uncut and pumping carbon underground

By: - January 12, 2023

This article has been updated with a comment from Hilcorp. For decades, Alaska’s economy has depended on the extraction and harvest of natural resources — industries like pumping oil out of the ground, and cutting timber. Now, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants the state to make money by leaving trees standing, and by pumping carbon […]

ConocoPhillips’ building is seen in downtown Anchorage. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

Two companies’ dispute over access to Alaska’s next big oil development is now headed to court

By: - January 4, 2023

ConocoPhillips has sued Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration in an effort to block a state-issued permit that provides a competing company access to its major proposed North Slope oil development. Conoco, represented by attorneys in Anchorage and Pittsburgh, filed its lawsuit Friday, prolonging a fight with the state and Australia-based oil company Santos that’s been […]

Chugach Electric Association board members meet in December at the cooperative’s Anchorage headquarters. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

Are Alaska utilities up to the challenge of climate change and a looming gas crunch?

By: - January 3, 2023

Last month, I decided to attend a board meeting at Chugach Electric Association, a cooperative that’s Alaska’s largest electric utility and serves more than 90,000 members in and around Anchorage. After I filled out a form, an employee sent me a Zoom link. I responded that I wanted to attend in person, as both a […]

Bering Sea snow crab, with two specimens seen support an iconic Alaska seafood harvest, but a crash in population since 2018 has triggered the first-ever closure of the fishery. (Photo provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Warming waters are driving Bering Sea crashes, but Alaska’s fishing industry is quiet on climate

By: - December 31, 2022

Billions of snow crab disappeared from the Bering Sea in the past few years — a crash that’s devastated Alaska’s crab fishing fleet and a harvest that just two years ago was worth $130 million. Bycatch didn’t kill them. But the issue still dominated discussions this month at an Anchorage meeting of the North Pacific Fishery […]

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor listens at a March 22 news conference on the process for the special U.S. House election. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska attorney general headlines $15,000-a-head fundraiser for conservative group

By: - December 15, 2022

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor is headlining a $15,000-per-person fundraiser for a conservative organization that ran attack ads against liberal state legislators this year — though an official from the group said the cash will fund its “nonpolitical” advocacy arm rather than political campaigns. Taylor is hosting a “wild Alaskan fishing expedition” to benefit Alaska […]

The Ribdon River is seen in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

With leases suspended, Alaska agency wants $6 million more for Arctic Refuge drilling campaign

By: - December 14, 2022

Alaska’s economic development agency has released plans to spend $6 million next year to advance its campaign to search for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, even as new environmental reviews, pending lawsuits and investor skepticism cast doubt on whether wells will ever be drilled.  The budget also includes money for annual lease payments, […]

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola is seen in her official portrait. (Photo by Chris Witschy)

Mary Peltola ran as pro-fish and anti-bycatch: Here’s what her agenda could look like in Congress

By: - December 12, 2022

Pro-fish. Fish, family, freedom. The campaign slogans were everywhere. Mary Peltola, the Democrat who this year became Alaska’s first woman and first Native person to hold her state’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, ran a fish-powered campaign, with ads showing her slicing fresh salmon filets. As a former tribal fisheries manager, Peltola’s election […]

ConocoPhillips’ building is seen in downtown Anchorage. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

ConocoPhillips loses bid to limit competitor’s access to Alaska’s next big oil project

By: - December 6, 2022

Oil company Santos scored a victory last week over competitor ConocoPhillips in a long-running dispute over roads needed to access Alaska’s next big petroleum development. For the past year, the companies have feuded over the rights of Australia-based Santos to cross roads that connect its new Pikka project to the North Slope oil hub of […]