Liz Ruskin, APRN
lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Liz
Inside a thick government report on the impact of off-shore oil leasing in the Chukchi Sea is a phrase that grabs the attention. It says there’s “75% chance of one or more large spills.” Today, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management put out a fact sheet to clarify what it means by that 75 percent figure.
The U.S. Senate today voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general. Both Alaska senators voted against her, saying she has not shown she has the independence to stand up to the Obama White House.
Alaska mining advocates are taking issue with something Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said last week, while defending federal resource management in Alaska.
Sen. Dan Sullivan added an amendment to the human trafficking bill the U.S. Senate passed today. It addresses a problem he faced as Alaska’s attorney general, when the feds declined to prosecute Bill Allen on sexual abuse charges.
The United States assumes chairmanship of the Arctic Council next week, kicking off a two-year window to assert American priorities in the region. The U.S. and other member nations have committed to making the Arctic a “zone of peace.” But now, some Arctic watchers wonder if the U.S. needs to add an item to its Arctic priority list: get tough with Russia.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today defended the federal government’s land management and brushed off calls from legislators in Alaska, and other states, to seize federal lands.
The price of Brent Crude hit above $63 a barrel today, the highest it’s been this year. That gives Alaskans something to cheer about, but the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration told a Senate panel Thursday two political events on the horizon would likely bring the global price down.
The U.S. Senate last night passed a bill to continue Secure Rural Schools. That’s a federal revenue-sharing program that delivers some $14 million to local governments in Alaska, primarily in Southeast, to compensate for low federal timber receipts. The bill also helps Medicare providers nationwide.
The Secretary of the Air Force told Alaska officials Tuesday that Eielson Air Force Base will keep its F-16 Aggressor squadron. Alaska Congressman Don Young says it’s good news on its own but it also improves the chances the Eielson will get F-35 aircraft, too.
If you want to comment on Shell’s plan to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer, now is your chance. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Friday that it considers Shell’s latest exploration plan and supporting documents sufficient enough to begin an official review. The determination kicks off a public comment period that lasts through the end of April.
Royal Dutch Shell announced this week a plan to purchase a major British LNG company, and statements by top executives suggest Shell may now be less committed to its future in Alaska’s offshore Arctic.
One hundred and fifty years ago, on April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Va. Textbooks typically say this event signaled the end of the Civil War. But a few historians make the case that the last shots of the war were actually fired from a Confederate ship off Alaska’s coast, in the Bering Sea.
It took a few years and an act of Congress, but today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced rural subsistence hunters don’t need to purchase federal duck stamps.
President Obama today sent letters to Congressional leaders formally requesting wilderness protection for parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including the coastal plain.
With two of Shell’s rigs now crossing the Pacific in hopes of drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer, officials and energy experts gathered at a forum in Washington this week to review the rewards and challenges ahead for Arctic oil development. Jan Mares, an energy policy advisor, says the prize is within the industry’s technical reach.
A federal revenue-sharing program called Secure Rural Schools has been a million-dollar boon to some Alaska cities and boroughs, mostly in Southeast. Despite the name, the money doesn’t just go to schools, and these days it’s not at all secure. But a two-year extension of Secure Rural Schools has advanced in Congress.
Shell’s effort to resume exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea has cleared another hurdle. The Interior Department today approved the 2008 Arctic lease sale where Shell spent more than $2 billion to purchase drilling rights.
Environmentalists are saying a budget amendment authored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski could lead to a plundering of treasured federal landscapes. Murkowski’s amendment on federal land disposals was part of a national budget resolution the Senate passed early this morning. Senators offered hundreds of amendments that don’t have the force of law but often serve symbolic or political purposes.