Economy & Environment

Service technicians work to install the foundation for a transmission tower at the CenterPoint Energy power plant on June 10, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Inside the battle over who gets to build the grid of the future

BY: - April 5, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy issued a draft report in February that found a “pressing need” for new electric transmission infrastructure across the country to improve reliability, connect a rapidly growing number of solar, wind and battery storage projects, supply increasing electric demand and alleviate scattered pockets of consistently high prices across the country. To […]

Models at Thursday's Far North Fashion Show wear traditional parkas designed by Mary Ann Lomack, at right. From left are Karen Lomack, wearing a creation of model Mary Ann Lomack; and four others wearing creations of designer Merna Wharton. Those model are Helen Lorrie Wharton, who is carrying Tiara Konig; Lanakila Wharton; and Maisha Ivanoff. At far right is the designer, Merna Wharton. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

High fashion at high latitudes: Event showcases Indigenous design

BY: - April 5, 2023

The fourth annual Far North Fashion Show held last Thursday drew a packed crowd to the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. The event showcases Indigenous designs that are traditional, contemporary and a blend of the two. It has become a highlight of the three-day Arctic Encounter Symposium, a conference that this year drew nearly […]

Economists warn that home construction loans could be affected by credit tightening at small and midsize banks. That, in turn, could cause home prices to rise as low inventory remains a problem. (Getty Images)

Mortgage rates are stabilizing but that may not be enough to help house hunters

BY: - April 4, 2023

Home prices are cooling off and mortgage rates fell last week, but the fallout from recent bank closures could continue to make it hard for some Americans to buy homes, economists say. Mortgage rates fell to 6.32% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, Freddie Mac data released on Thursday shows. Last fall, the 30-year fixed […]

An exploration site at ConocoPhillips' Willow prospect is seen from the air in the 2019 winter season. (Photo by Judy Patrick/provided by ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc.)

Federal judge says construction can begin for Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope

BY: - April 3, 2023

A federal court judge on Monday ruled against environmental groups seeking to block preliminary construction of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. The decision allows ConocoPhillips, the project’s developer, to begin digging a gravel mine and building a gravel road to access the area projected to be the largest new North Slope oil […]

Flags from around the Arctic -- without the Russian flag -- are displayed on March 30 in a meeting room at the Arctic Encounter Symposium. Between the Norwegian and Swedish flags, Nagruk Harcharek of Voice of the Arctic Inupiat and Hajo Eicken of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' International Arctic Research Center converse. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Despite Russia’s post-invasion isolation, some narrow openings for Arctic cooperation remain

BY: - April 3, 2023

Russia comprises half of the world’s Arctic region, so how can Arctic cooperation proceed without Russia? And for Alaska, which shares bodies of water, marine ecosystems, animal populations, cultures and, in some cases, language and even family ties across the Bering Strait, how can those shared resources and interests be protected when communication with Russian […]

(Getty Images photo)

Social Security trustees predict benefit cuts in 2033 without congressional action

BY: - March 31, 2023

WASHINGTON — Social Security will no longer be able to pay full benefits in 2033, a year earlier than previously expected, according to a report released Friday.  The updated projections, in the annual trustee report, mean that without action to stabilize the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, Social Security would have enough money to […]

Vera Metcalf stands on Wednesday by a chunk of sea ice transported from Utqiagvik and displayed at the Arctic Encounter Symposium. The melting ice, which started at 310 pounds, symbolizes the rapid climate change that is weaking the Arctic ice pack, with profound implications for ecosystems, communties and cultures. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Sea ice, critical to ecosystems and communities, looms large at Alaska conference

BY: - March 31, 2023

Suspended in netting in a downtown Anchorage building is a potent symbol of Arctic climate change: a chunk of sea ice that started at 310 pounds but is steadily shrinking, that was transported from Utqiagvik to the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. The ice was set up as a prominent display at the Arctic Encounter […]

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 […]