Economy & Environment

Alaska legislative committee considers waiving local sales taxes on gold, silver coins

BY: - February 3, 2023

A new bill proposed by a Big Lake Republican would exempt gold-backed currencies and gold and silver coins from local sales taxes in order to encourage their use as currency, not just collectibles. Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, told the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday that the bill was inspired by a constituent who […]

The Tennessee Valley Authority's Cumberland Fossil Plant is seen in an undated photo. (TVA photo)

As Southeast states warm, TVA criticized on preparations for dealing with climate hazards

BY: - February 2, 2023

WASHINGTON – Extreme weather patterns have sparked several improvements to the climate resiliency of Tennessee Valley Authority electrical infrastructure over the past two decades.  However, a report from a government watchdog found the huge utility still has work to do in mitigating climate hazards to the regional power grid. “TVA has taken several steps to […]

A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig is seen in Cook Inlet in an undated photo. (Photo by Paul Souders/Getty Images)

Gov. Dunleavy says Alaska doesn’t flare its natural gas. It does.

BY: - February 2, 2023

During last week’s State of the State address, Gov. Mike Dunleavy incorrectly said that Alaska’s oil and gas producers are banned from releasing gas into the atmosphere and burning it, a process known as flaring. “We don’t flare our gas, and never have, and we don’t have to be told not to by the federal […]

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.)

BLM recommends trims to Willow plan, bringing huge oil project closer to development

BY: - February 2, 2023

The biggest Alaska oil development in two decades is a step closer to regulatory approval. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday released its recommendation for how ConocoPhillips’ massive Willow project on the North Slope would be developed. Willow, if developed, would be the farthest-west producing field on the North Slope. It would tap […]

A home burns after a fast moving wildfire swept through the area in the Centennial Heights neighborhood of Louisville, Colorado, on Dec. 30, 2021. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Western wildfires destroyed 246% more homes and buildings over the past decade

BY: , , and - February 1, 2023

It can be tempting to think that the recent wildfire disasters in communities across the West were unlucky, one-off events, but evidence is accumulating that points to a trend. In a new study, we found a 246% increase in the number of homes and structures destroyed by wildfires in the contiguous Western U.S. between the […]

A gray beluga whale calf and three adults swim together in Cook Inlet. Some critics of oil development in the regon say it further threatens the endangered and struggling Cook Inlet beluga population. (Photo by Paul Wade/NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center)

Combined threats keep Cook Inlet beluga numbers perilously low, scientists say

BY: - February 1, 2023

The dire state of the endangered Cook Inlet beluga population, which is now below 300 animals and has continued to decline, is blamed on a variety of factors. They include industrial noise, urban pollution, vessel traffic, oil and gas activities, food stress and climate change. What about all of the above? And for scientists working […]

Spawning Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, with their distinctive red bodies and green heads, swim in the waters of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in 2003. (Photo by D. Young/National Park Service)

Beyond EPA’s veto of Pebble project, activists seek broader protections for Bristol Bay region

BY: - January 31, 2023

For opponents of the controversial Pebble Mine in southwestern Alaska, the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block the project’s development was cause for celebration. “My people in Bristol Bay are so relieved with the EPA administration’s call that I’ll bet you they’re dancing in their villages,” Robin Samuelson, a longtime Native and […]

From left to right: Sens. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage; Matt Claman, D-Anchorage; and Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, listen on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, to a prediction that Southcentral Alaska could run out of available natural gas by the end of the decade. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Cook Inlet may face gas shortage by decade’s end, state officials estimate

BY: - January 31, 2023

Southcentral Alaska may run out of available natural gas by the end of the decade, according to a new analysis conducted by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. The analysis, presented Monday in a hearing of the Senate Resources Committee, is the most detailed look so far at the possibility that Anchorage and surrounding areas […]

Anchorage senator proposes new spending cap, key piece of Alaska fiscal plan

BY: - January 31, 2023

A Republican state senator from Anchorage is proposing major changes to Alaska’s state spending cap, in the first step toward a long-term plan to balance the state’s budget that multiple legislators say is a priority. The proposal from Sen. James Kaufman, R-Anchorage, received its first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, where it […]

Ellesmere Island is seen in this 2000 photo taken from space. (Photo by NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)

Ancient primates’ fate offers a lesson as climate change speeds up

BY: - January 30, 2023

Two new species of prehistoric primate were recently identified by scientists studying fossils from Canada’s Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic. The primates are closely related and likely originated from a single colonisation event, following which they split into two species: Ignacius dawsonae and Ignacius mckennai. At 52 million years old, they represent the most […]

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) speaks at a House Republican news conference on energy policy at the U.S. Capitol on March 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

New U.S. House Natural Resources chair opposes limits on fossil fuel development

BY: - January 30, 2023

The incoming chairman of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee wants to allow more mining and believes technology — not limitations on fossil fuel production — is the best way to address climate change. As part of their organization of the chamber they now control, U.S. House Republicans selected Arkansas’ Bruce Westerman to lead the […]

The image shows students working to clean up plastic

School program for ‘Ocean Guardians’ seeks to expand in Alaska

BY: - January 30, 2023

Alaska’s coastlines are home to iconic Alaska wildlife, but they’re also besieged by litter and pollution. There’s an effort underway to combat this by teaching students about marine conservation. Scientists and teachers say it’s having success and would like to see it expand.  In the Ocean Guardian School Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration partners […]