Economy & Environment

Two chum salmon show the distinctive stripes that emerge after they enter freshwater to spawn. Chum salmon are important to the diets of Indigenous residents of Western Alaska. (Photo provided by NOAA)

Disaster aid has arrived, but Western Alaska’s salmon and crab problems continue

BY: - May 20, 2023

As $216 million in federal aid is flowing to help Alaskans cope with salmon and crab collapses over the past three years, conditions that caused some of the harvest failures persist. The Alaska congressional delegation announced on Friday that the U.S. Commerce Department released the disaster aid. The money is to go to harvesters, processors […]

The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on Oct. 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

GOP’s desired work requirements for federal aid would kick roughly 21M from anti-poverty programs

BY: - May 19, 2023

Congressional Republicans’ efforts to slash federal spending by tying work requirements to Medicaid and SNAP would have far-reaching consequences for people with mental health issues, chronic health problems, and some people with disabilities if enacted, policy experts on anti-poverty programs say. They say the work requirements as laid out by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s “Limit, […]

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A default on the U.S. debt would be far worse than a government shutdown. Here’s how.

BY: , , and - May 19, 2023

WASHINGTON — A U.S. default on its debt would have a significantly broader impact on federal operations, financial markets and the global economy than recent government shutdowns that have left ordinary Americans largely untouched. While the two have been confused frequently during debate over the debt limit, the federal government has had considerable practice with […]

Ship Creek flows through downtown Anchorage on Feb. 14. A study by Alaska Community Action on Toxics found the PFAS contaminants knows as "forever chemicals" are in this and other much-used waterways in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Ship Creek's major source, like that in other areas, is likely airports, where PFAS-containing firefighting foams are used. A bill passed by the Alaska Legislature would ban the use of such foams by Jan. 1, with some exceptions. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers approve ban on firefighting ‘forever chemicals’ and refrigerants phase-out

BY: - May 18, 2023

The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill requiring the end of use of firefighting foams containing substances known as “forever chemicals” because of their resistance to any natural degradation. Those substances, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been generally used by airport fire departments. The PFAS bill requires a switch to alternative foams by […]

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Overhaul federal permitting as part of the debt limit deal? Not as easy as it sounds.

BY: - May 18, 2023

Congressional leaders negotiating a deal to avoid a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt are talking about including an overhaul of how the federal government reviews projects for their environmental impact. There is bipartisan support for changes to the lengthy environmental approval process among climate-minded Democrats eager to speed construction of renewable energy projects, as […]

A vast expanse of Interior Alaska's boreal forest is seen on Sept. 19, 2022, from the Ski Land ski and snowboard area in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House follows Senate to pass bill authorizing sale of carbon credits from state land

BY: - May 16, 2023

The Alaska House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow the state to set up a system for using state land to sell carbon-offset credits. The House action amounted to final passage of the bill, which was approved the previous day by the state Senate. The measure, Senate Bill 48, authorizes the […]

The trans-Alaska pipeline is seen on Sept. 19 in Fairbanks. This portion of the pipeline is 450 miles south of Prudhoe Bay. Hilcorp Energy Co., through its subsidiary Harvest Midstream, now own the approximately 49% share previously owned by BP. The Regulatory Commisison of Alaska gave final approval to the acquisition in December of 2020.(Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaskans deserve to know more about companies profiting from our natural resources, like Hilcorp

BY: and - May 16, 2023

On June 28, the Alaska Supreme Court will hear arguments on the city of Valdez’s cases related to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska’s approval of the BP-Hilcorp deal. Alaska Supreme Court oral arguments are open to the public and will also be livestreamed. Though the seduction of the summer outdoors is strong, Alaskans need to […]

The Blue Creek wind farm, which spans Paulding and Van Wert counties in Ohio, consists of 152 wind turbines with a total capacity of 304 megawatts. (Photo by Robert Zullo/States Newsroom)

Rural electric co-ops to get $10.7B in USDA funds for clean energy grants, loans

BY: - May 16, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin to administer two loan and grant programs worth nearly $11 billion to boost clean energy systems in rural areas, administration officials said Tuesday. Congress approved the federal spending — $9.7 billion for a grant and loan program the department is calling the New Empowering Rural America program, or […]

The Interior boreal forest is seen on Sept. 20. 2022, from an overlook along the Parks Highway on the edge of Fairbanks. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Senate passes bill to create carbon credits for preserved forest land

BY: - May 16, 2023

The Alaska Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill that would set up a system for selling credits by preserving forested Alaska land to offset carbon burned or released elsewhere. The carbon-offset credits bill would allow leases of up to 55 years in duration, with payments made to the state by businesses and other entities […]

Smoke rises from a coal-fired power plant on Feb. 1, 2019, in Romeoville, Illinois. The recent polar vortex taxed power systems across the Midwest as demand for electricity climbed as temperatures plunged. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

EPA again proposes power plant carbon rules

BY: - May 15, 2023

The Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan — intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants — was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Trump administration’s much-criticized replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, derided as a “tortured series of misreadings” of the U.S. Clean Air Act, was also tossed by a federal court. […]

Spruce and birch trees at the edge Stevens Pond on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus on Sept. 18, 2022. The trees and the pond are atop permafrost that is thawing; thaw has caused some trees to tilt. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska lawmakers consider using forested lands for money-making carbon credits

BY: - May 13, 2023

Legislators are considering whether Alaska, one of places in the world most transformed by climate change, can be a solution by keeping habitat intact. That is the idea behind an initiative by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who has introduced and is championing two bills that would put Alaska on the path to what he describes as […]


Alaska trollers will feel pain and unnecessary hardship from ruling on orca lawsuit

BY: - May 12, 2023

As president of Seafood Producers Cooperative, representing nearly 400 fishermen-owners, who reside in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, I want to convey our great disappointment and frustration with the recent ruling concerning the Wild Fish Conservancy and their lawsuit directed at our Salmon Troll fleet.  SPC and its fishermen-owners have been the premier producers, processors […]