Alaska's Energy Desk

Alaska's Energy Desk is a team of six reporters covering energy and environment in Alaska. We produce in-depth enterprise reporting for radio, video and web. The team is a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska and supported with a grant from CPB.

The last person John McPhee talks to in his book Coming into the Country is a man who calls himself River Wind. At the time, River Wind was 32 years old, about to head down the Yukon in a 15 foot aluminum canoe to find a place to live. Forty years later, he goes by his given name, David Cornberg and spends most of the year in Fairbanks. Listen now

On Jan. 13, ConocoPhillips announced a major oil find in the National Petroleum-Reserve Alaska (NPR-A). The company is calling it the Willow Discovery. Experts say coupled with several other recent big discoveries in the region, it could portend a new wave of oil development on the North Slope. If developed, it could go a long ways toward replenishing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Listen now

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said warming ocean temperatures, due to climate change, could slow the growth of some Alaska coral. In a study released Thursday, scientists warned about the potential impact to fish, which take refuge in thickets of coral. Listen now

It may be called the “National Petroleum Reserve,” but the 23-million-acre chunk of federal land on the North Slope didn’t see a full-scale oil development until 2015. As this new era begins, the Bureau of Land Management is adding another layer of protection to this vast, sensitive area. Listen now

Geologic changes typically move slow. But one glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve could be moving at a decidedly un-glacial pace. Scientists think it’s doing something only a small amount of glaciers do, an event called “surging.” Listen now

New photos show the dramatic effect of volcanic explosions on Bogoslof Island. The Eastern Aleutian island is home to a volcano that has been erupting since mid-December. Now, the tiny island is even smaller and it’s shaped like a hook. Listen now

Thousands of Alaskans lost their jobs in 2016, and in the forecast for 2017, it doesn’t look like the economy is going to stop shrinking anytime soon. Listen now

The village of Newtok has requested a federal disaster declaration from President Barack Obama to address ongoing erosion and thawing permafrost. It’s one of the first tests of whether the nation’s disaster relief laws can be used to deal with the slow-moving impacts of climate change. Listen now

A multimillion dollar dam in Kake would make it easier to bring renewable energy to the village, which currently runs off diesel. But the definition of “renewable” isn’t the same in everyone’s book. Federal grants for hydro projects can be limited — compared to what’s available for wind and solar. Listen now

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its final plan to increase the population of Cook Inlet’s beluga whales and get them off the endangered species list. Listen now

For the first time in over a decade, the operator of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System announced a year-over-year increase in the amount of oil moving through the pipeline. Listen now

Bogoslof Island is an important breeding ground for marine mammals and seabirds, making it the perfect place to monitor how life responds to volcanic destruction. Listen Now

Workers at a Tesoro facility on the Kenai Peninsula are cleaning up contaminated soil and snow after more than 120 gallons of oily water spilled out of a pipeline near Cook Inlet. The company notified the state of the spill at its Kenai Pipeline Facility on Dec. 18. Listen Now

In a class action grievance filed Tuesday, the Alaska State Employees Association says the governor overlooked a crucial detail in its contract agreement. Listen Now

As the cold winter months hit the North Slope, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is heading back out to plug four old wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The agency hopes the process goes more smoothly this time around. Listen Now

Last week, Alaska’s Supreme Court issued an opinion on a Prudhoe Bay tax law case that has been open for 10 years. Alaska’s Energy Desk reporter Rashah McChesney spoke with the former Department of Revenue tax division head Dan Dickinson.Listen Now

Diesel is running about $2.71 per gallon in Southeast Alaska, but in places that depend on diesel for electricity, there are still households that won’t let the cost dampen the holiday spirit. Listen Now

When Governor Bill Walker released his state budget last week, the phrase “oil and gas tax credits” was notably absent from the announcement. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a hot topic this year.Lawmakers in the new House majority coalition say the current oil and gas tax credit structure is unsustainable, and they're working on a bill to change it. Listen Now

The U.S. Forest Service wears a lot of hats. The agency oversees federal lands, repairs salmon streams and auctions off trees. In Alaska, timber sales are intended to stimulate the local economy, but industry groups say that through the years the forest service hasn’t made enough logs available to keep the industry alive. Now, with changes to federal regulations, even less old growth is slated for market. Listen Now

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is still trying to broker a deal to take over the Alaska LNG project, but it will not happen by its self-imposed end-of-the-year deadline. Listen Now