Ex-Alaska AG leads Interior office with focus on Arctic, ‘adaptation’

Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes. (Photo via State of Alaska website)

Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes has a new job at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C.

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Renkes is listed on the Interior Department’s website as the director of the Office of Policy Analysis, signaling a new direction for him and for that office.

Renkes was attorney general under then-Gov. Frank Murkowski. He resigned in 2005 after it emerged that he had negotiated a state coal deal that would’ve benefited a company he was invested in. Renkes helped craft a state agreement to sell processed coal to Taiwan, despite owning more than $100,000 of stock in the company with the patent on the technology to process the coal.

An independent investigator later said the investment was insignificant and did not amount to an ethics violation.

In his new position, Renkes leads an office at Interior that deals with Arctic issues, invasive species and what the Trump administration calls “adaptation.” In the previous administration, that program was called “climate change adaptation.”

The previous director of the office was Joel Clement. Clement contends he was removed in retaliation for his work helping Alaska Native villages adapt to climate change.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She's @lruskin on Twitter. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz