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

Bering Sea snow crab, with two specimens seen in this undated photo, support an iconic Alaska seafood harvest, but a crash in population since 2018 triggered the first ever closure of the fishery in 2022. That closure was extended for the 2023-24 season. (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 […]

The House floor on April 22, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney)

‘Stalemate’: Prepare to wait weeks, or even months, before a majority forms in Alaska House

By: - December 5, 2022

After last month’s elections, the Alaska Capitol, so far, is split between two different political ideologies. Voters re-elected Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and a centrist, bipartisan coalition is set to take control of the state Senate. A longtime principle at the Alaska Capitol holds that of the building’s three power centers — the House, Senate […]

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

Biden administration delays release of new Arctic Refuge drilling environmental review

By: - December 1, 2022

The Biden administration has delayed by several months the release of a new environmental review of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The review, known as a “draft supplemental environmental impact statement,” was originally set for release by the end of November. All oil development work in the refuge is effectively stalled until […]

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge sprawls to the shoreline of the Beaufort Sea, seen here in 2006. Oil development has been proposed for the refuge's coastal plain. (Photo by Steve Hillebrand,/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Under attack on many fronts, AIDEA now faces a leadership void

By: - November 28, 2022

The last time I saw Alan Weitzner, the head of the state agency responsible for some of the most polarizing infrastructure projects in Alaska, he and his spokeswoman were staffing a booth at a mining conference in Anchorage.  No one had stopped by to chat; when I walked up and introduced myself as a reporter […]

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

Alaska Native corporations take argument over carbon credits revenue to court

By: - November 21, 2022

A new lawsuit threatens to upend a landmark, four-decade-old revenue sharing pact that’s guided the distribution of more than $2 billion among Alaska’s Native corporations. The litigation stems from the 121-page, 1982 settlement agreement that has long defused financial disputes between the 12 regional Native corporations: The deal successfully outlined how the companies should share […]

A Hilcorp rig in action in July at the company’s Ivan River pad, on the shore of Cook Inlet, about 30 miles west of Anchorage. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

Could oil-rich Alaska be forced to import natural gas? Two utilities are looking into it.

By: - November 18, 2022

Amid warnings of diminishing natural gas supplies, utilities in Alaska, one of America’s biggest fossil fuel producers, are exploring imports of liquefied natural gas from outside the state to meet demand as contracts expire over the next decade. Two of Anchorage’s largest utilities have hired consultants to study bringing in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, […]

A group of caribou from the Western Arctic Herd swim across the Kobuk River during fall migration in 2017. Much of the debate over the Ambler road and the associated mine development concern impacts to the herd, one of the largest in North America. (Photo by Matt Cameron/National Park Service)

Bureau of Land Management schedules Ambler road decision for late 2023

By: - November 17, 2022

The federal Bureau of Land Management said in a court filing Tuesday that it will issue its final decision on Alaska Industrial and Economic Development Authority’s proposed Ambler road project in the fourth quarter of 2023. The Trump administration had previously approved the controversial, 200-mile road, which would run through Gates of the Arctic National […]

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, speaks with Nathaniel Herz after the Alaskan LNG summit in Tokyo, at the residence of the U.S. Embassy’s deputy chief of mission. (Photo by Alex Herz)

The view, from Asia, of Alaska’s natural gas pipeline

By: - November 15, 2022

I spent 10 days in Japan last month. I was mostly on vacation — great hot springs, the trains run on time and astonishingly fast — but I also met with a few people in Japan’s energy industry.  That’s because the nation is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas importer and, importantly, likely the biggest […]