Economy & Environment

State sales tax, envisioned as part of long-term plan, gets first hearing in Alaska Capitol

BY: - March 30, 2023

A 2% statewide sales tax proposed by Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, received its first legislative hearing Wednesday night, with its sponsor saying he envisions it as a component of a long-term plan to bring state spending and revenue into balance. Other components of that plan, including a tougher state spending cap and a new formula […]

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise talks with reporters after the U.S. House GOP held its leadership elections on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Scalise was the chief sponsor of an energy bill the House approved on Thursday. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

U.S. House passes sweeping energy bill pushing back against Biden climate policies

BY: - March 30, 2023

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Thursday approved a bill packed with Republican energy priorities meant to counteract the Biden administration’s approach and boost U.S. oil and gas production. Numbered H.R. 1 as a signal that energy policy is the House majority’s top legislative priority, the bill includes a package of GOP proposals, ranging from […]

he White House called on the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators to reinstate safeguards for regional banks after the collapse of two banks earlier this month. (Photo via Canva)

White House calls on financial regulators to bring back safeguards for regional banks

BY: - March 30, 2023

WASHINGTON —  The Biden administration, placing blame on Trump-era rollbacks, Thursday called on federal banking regulators to reinstate safeguards for regional banks after the record-setting collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank of New York earlier this month. The White House wants the agencies to revive regular stress testing at banks in the $100- […]

Doug Vincent-Lang, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, speaks on Wednesday during a panel discussion of ocean issues at the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage. Vincent-Lang said his department is preparing for potential commercial fisheries in Arctic waters in the future. From left are Rachel Kallander, founder of the symposium; David Balton, executive director of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee; VIncent-Lang; Manuel Carmona Yebra, a European Union counselor for environmental and ocean policies; Sheyna Wisdom, director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System; Zachary Penney, senior U.S. Commerce Department advisor for oceans and atmosphere; and Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard's Alaska district. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska officials prepare for possible commercial fishing expansion into Arctic waters

BY: - March 29, 2023

Bans on commercial fishing in U.S. and international Arctic waters have been lauded as admirable preemptive actions that protect vulnerable resources before they are damaged by exploitation. But now the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is preparing for a time when the 14-year-old moratorium on commercial fishing in federal Arctic waters is lifted. The […]

Spawning sockeye salmon returning from Bristol Bay swim in 2013 in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve's Tazimina Lake, part of the Bristol Bay watershed. (Photo by D. Young/National Park Service)

Fishery expert says he is optimistic about long-term prospects for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon

BY: - March 29, 2023

The long-term outlook is bright for Bristol Bay sockeye runs, source of a thriving commercial fishery that has enjoyed record-breaking returns and harvests in recent years, a salmon expert told a conference last week. Part of the credit goes to the warming climate in that southeast Bering Sea region, Daniel Schindler, a professor at the […]

Alaska Legislature votes to oppose National Park Service hunting rule that forbids bear baiting

BY: - March 28, 2023

The Alaska Legislature has voted to oppose a new National Park Service rule that could limit some forms of hunting in federal parks and preserves.  The Alaska Senate approved House Joint Resolution 10 in an 18-2 vote on Monday, an act that finalizes the nonbinding letter of opposition. The Alaska House previously voted 31-5 to […]

Corvids like ravens are social and intelligent birds who provide extended care for their young. (Photo by Neal Herbert/National Park Service)

Bird-brained? Climate change may affect intelligence in birds

BY: and - March 28, 2023

  Large brains are a hallmark of human evolution. Brains allow us to make sense of the world and to successfully navigate through our lives. Bigger brains are valuable because they provide increased flexibility to deal with everyday problems, allowing them to make better decisions, learn difficult skills and innovate solutions to challenging problems. Large […]

Smokestack emissions are seen along the Fairbanks skyline on March 1. At left is the coal-fired heat and power plant on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Legislative resolution takes aim at EPA wood-stove certification in Fairbanks

BY: - March 28, 2023

A resolution pending in the Alaska Legislature urges both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to do more to address wintertime air pollution in Fairbanks. House Joint Resolution 11 calls on the federal agency to improve a wood-stove certification program that has been deemed ineffective. It also calls on the […]

Committee axes funding for Alaska’s effort to take over a federal wetlands permitting program

BY: - March 28, 2023

The Alaska House Finance Committee voted Monday to remove the state’s planned takeover of a federal wetlands program from its budget proposal and redirect the planned funding to the education program Head Start. The 6-5 vote came as the committee opened debate on more than 80 amendments to a proposed state budget for the fiscal […]

Ironworker apprentice Natalie Bell displays her Rosie the Riveter tattoo that she describes as a symbol of strength, March 22, 2023, at the Iron Workers 172 Training Center in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for States Newsroom)

Help wanted: Women needed for U.S. chips manufacturing plan to succeed

BY: - March 27, 2023

Natalie Bell was thinking about a career in art after college when a welding class and a delivery of four pizzas changed her career trajectory.  “I was taking a delivery out to a construction site and I met an ironworker who I was taking the delivery to,” said Bell, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. “I […]

(Getty Images photo)

Technology and investment are needed to get forever chemicals out of U.S. drinking water

BY: - March 27, 2023

Harmful chemicals known as PFAS can be found in everything from children’s clothes to soil to drinking water, and regulating these chemicals has been a goal of public and environmental health researchers for years. On March 14, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed what would be the first set of federal guidelines regulating levels […]

Alaska’s occupational licensing division staggers under its workload

BY: - March 27, 2023

After waiting six months for a license to operate, an Anchorage psychologist asked Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel for help. But when the Anchorage Republican called the licensing office, she was greeted by voicemail. The person in charge of answering the phones had quit and couldn’t be replaced. “Professional licenses are required to get people […]