Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska's Energy Desk - Bethel
Alaska's temperatures are warming twice as fast as the global average, and rural Alaska is taking the brunt of the impacts. The costs from dealing with climate change are starting to become more visible in Bethel, a hub town for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
More than 130 female Calista shareholders signed a letter sent to the Calista Native Corporation protesting the proposed Donlin gold mine.
A tailings dam collapsed last month in Brazil, killing more than 150 people. That accident raised fears among some residents in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta about the safety of the tailings facility and dam that Donlin Gold plans to construct for its large gold mine. Donlin says its design is much safer than the one that collapsed in Brazil.
A Montana-based nonprofit group that participates in mine permitting across the U.S. thinks the company has room to improve the mine plans that were recently approved by the state.
How did Pete Kaiser get to be one of Alaska’s top mushers? He says that it's "basically a lifestyle."
Climate changes are hitting home in many ways: the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race had to make a last-minute route change, and the Kuskokwim River is taking longer to freeze, so more residents in remote Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities have to travel by air instead.
The company is trying to develop one of the biggest gold mines in the world in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The mine, if built, would disturb 2,800 acres of wetlands. Because Donlin can’t restore all of those wetlands, it is required to protect wetlands somewhere else.
Regional temperatures are a big deal because Y-K Delta residents can only travel to other villages by water or by plane. In the past the river usually froze thick enough before December to allow for an ice road, but that hasn’t been the case for the last couple of years.
For the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, the climate change stakes are especially high because the region is home to the most tribes in the state.
Some residents of Crooked Creek see the potential for much needed economic development while others see the possible disruption of their subsistence lifestyle.
The effort to get the Kuskokwim 300 into the Hall of Fame began three years ago.
Climate change and rural aviation are major issues in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski addressed both during her visit to the region last week.
Sen. Murkowski says that Dunleavy’s stance on Ballot Measure 1, a controversial salmon habitat ballot measure, was a big factor in her support.
The Alaska Department of Transportation plans to repave the runway after repairing the dips caused by melting permafrost.
Barrick Gold also wants to build one of the world’s largest gold mines, the Donlin gold mine, in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. And this merger could have future implications for the project.
There isn’t much at the proposed mine site right now: just a long airstrip, with clusters of sturdy buildings in the middle of green mountains close to the Middle Kuskokwim River. But if completed, the Donlin gold mine would be one of the biggest in the world. Listen now