Economy & Environment

An electric bicycle stands in Alaska eBike in Anchorage. Electric bikes have not been formally regulated in Alaska, despite their increasing popularity. (Photo by Sophia Carlisle/Alaska Beacon)

New legislation could clear up confusion surrounding e-bikes in Alaska 

BY: - March 20, 2023

Alaska legislators are considering a bill that would set basic rules for how electric bikes may be used in the state. Despite e-bikes becoming more popular in Alaska, legislators have struggled to define what constitutes an electric bike. House Bill 8 seeks to change that by adding a clear legal definition of what an e-bike […]

Fishing boats line a dock at Kodiak's St. Paul Harbor on Oct. 3. In the background is Pillar Mountain. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Kodiak lawmakers outline fishery-related accomplishments and ambitions

BY: - March 18, 2023

A bill that passed the Alaska Legislature last year has already started to benefit the fishing industry, and more fishing-specific bills are in the works this year, state lawmakers representing Kodiak said on Friday at an industry conference. Alaska Senate President Gary Stevens, a Republican leading a bipartisan majority, told the audience at ComFish Alaska […]

First Republic received $30 billion in deposits from 11 large banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Regulators end week like they started — tamping down fears, rescuing a bank

BY: - March 17, 2023

Financial regulators, policymakers, and bank executives spent the week trying to abate fears that a banking crisis will spread across the U.S. financial system.  On Friday, President Joe Biden released a statement calling on Congress to take action to make it easier for regulators to hold senior bank executives accountable for their mismanagement.  “It should […]

Wildfire experts forecast higher-than-normal fire danger in Southwest Alaska

BY: - March 17, 2023

Southwest Alaska has a higher-than-normal risk of wildfires this spring, according to a preseason fire forecast published by state and federal experts. The annual early-season forecast shows normal fire danger across most of the state, except in Southwest Alaska, where less snow has fallen than normal. Winter snowfall totals are strongly correlated with fire danger […]

Fishing boats line the docks in Kodiak's St. Paul Harbor on Oct. 2, 2022. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Peltola, Murkowski warn that fixing fish crisis will be time-consuming and complex

BY: - March 16, 2023

The disastrous collapses of Alaska salmon and crab fisheries, some happening at the same time, will require a long time and a variety of tools to address, the state’s senior U.S. senator and sole U.S. House member said in a panel discussion at an annual fishing industry conference in Kodiak. To Rep. Mary Peltola, who […]

Several oil projects are active in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. (Photo by Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management, CC BY-SA)

3 reasons the Willow Arctic oil drilling project was approved

BY: - March 16, 2023

For more than six decades, Alaska’s North Slope has been a focus of intense controversy over oil development and wilderness protection, with no end in sight. Willow field, a 600-million-barrel, US$8 billion oil project recently approved by the Biden administration – to the outrage of environmental and climate activists – is the latest chapter in […]

This slide presented to the Alaska House Finance Committee on Thursday, March 16, 2023, shows a satellite view of the Mustang Road. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is planning to give the road to the state as part of its annual state-mandated dividend. (Alaska Legislature screenshot)

State development corporation plans to give road – and possible costs – to Alaska government

BY: - March 16, 2023

Alaska’s state-owned development corporation is planning to give away a 4.5-mile North Slope road instead of paying a cash dividend to the state treasury, an act that could sap millions from projects elsewhere in the state and may force the state to shoulder the cost of road maintenance. Under the proposal, the Alaska Industrial Development […]

Marines refuel an MV-22B Osprey at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, after completing an exercise flight, Jan. 28, 2021. (Photo by Senior Airman Andrew Bertain/U.S. Space Force)

Pentagon to halt use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS as cleanup costs mount

BY: and - March 16, 2023

WASHINGTON — Battered by years of criticism from U.S. lawmakers and environmental advocates, the Department of Defense will stop purchasing PFAS-containing firefighting foam later this year and phase it out entirely in 2024.  The replacement for Aqueous Film Forming Foam has yet to be determined, and advocates are frustrated it’s taken so long to halt […]

A healthy sunflower sea star is seen on the seafloor in 2014. (Photo by Ed Gullekson/Washington Department of Fish and WIldlife, provided by NOAA Fisheries)

Threatened listing proposed for sunflower sea star after population devastated by wasting disease

BY: - March 16, 2023

One of the world’s largest sea stars is on track to receive Endangered Species Act protections. Federal regulators announced on Wednesday that they are proposing a threatened listing for the sunflower sea star, a creature that has been killed off in much of its Pacific habitat by disease. While the effect of a listing on […]

A whale surfaces on July 8, 2018 just east of Montauk, New York in the Block Island Sound. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Right whales vs. commercial fishing: no ‘easy solution’ for NOAA, says Raimondo

BY: - March 15, 2023

Once hunted to near-extinction, the greatest threats to the endangered North Atlantic right whale now are accidental encounters with humans. Federal efforts to protect the whale species, which spends most of the year off the coast of New England, from collisions with ships and entanglements in fishing gear — incidents that represent the two leading […]

A Federal Reserve police officer guards the entrance to the Federal Reserve’s William McChesney Martin Building as government financial institutions join force to bail out Silicon Valley Bank's account holders after it collapsed on March 13, 2023, in Washington, D.C. U.S. President Joe Biden tried to assure the public that the U.S. banking industry was safe following SVB's collapse and after New York regulators' forced closure of Signature Bank. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse differs from our last financial crisis

BY: - March 15, 2023

After the largest U.S. bank failure in more than a decade, regional bank stocks plunged on Monday as the federal government — with the 2007-2008 financial crisis still a fresh memory for many — rushed to reassure Americans that the U.S. banking system was stable. President Joe Biden told Americans that the risks taken on […]

The ConocoPhillips Alaska headquarters, seen here on April 8, 2020, looms over downtown Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Willow development expected to be a money-loser for the Alaska treasury in early years

BY: - March 15, 2023

A giant oil development project just greenlighted by the Biden administration and celebrated by Alaska state leaders is expected to cost the state treasury more than it would raise in the early years. The Willow project, estimated to hold 600 million barrels of recoverable oil, would spur a cumulative loss of more than $1 billion […]