Alaska's Energy Desk

Alaska’s Energy Desk is a collaboration between KTOO-FM in Juneau, Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KUCB in Unalaska, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks, KBRW in Utqiaġvik and KYUK in Bethel. Each week we produce in-depth coverage of energy issues in Alaska for radio, video and web. From the state budget to personal energy use, resource development to Arctic life, we cover how energy issues impact Alaskan lives and landscapes. Alaska’s Energy Desk is a Regional Journalism Collaboration, launched in 2016 with a supporting grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In China, Alaska gets new gasline partners — but no guarantees

The deal links Alaska’s gas pipeline project to three Chinese entities with deep pockets. Listen now
A landscape view of water and tundra in northern Alaska.

USGS scientist resigns in tussle over release of NPR-A data

A top scientist resigned late last year to protest what he saw as a threat to the agency’s scientific integrity. The deputy secretary of Interior was pressing the USGS to allow a preview of its findings on the oil potential in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Listen now

Department of Energy scientists to attend first Alaska National Lab Day

"We think we’ve got some great challenges right now for them and we hope they’ll pick some up," said Larry Hinzman, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Listen now

Experiments in Northern Alaska seek to improve projections for a changing Arctic

"What we’re trying to do is make better predictions so that we can basically provide policy-makers with more useful, actionable information." Listen now

The man who translates climate change data for Alaskans is retiring. Here’s a Q&A

Alaska’s summer may have seemed cold. And it was, compared to the previous few. But it was actually still significantly warmer than the previous three decades. Rick Thoman, who’s retiring from his job as a federal climatologist, talks about how sometimes our brains can tell us different things than the data. Listen now

Donlin Gold signs major wetland mitigation agreement

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.

With spring whaling around the corner, sinew thread makers are hard at work

“Everything just falls into place,” says Nancy Leavitt of the hard work involved in sinew thread making. “The problems, the stress, the thoughts you have. Most of them just disappear.”

Virginia GOP group helps boost conservative Anchorage school board candidates

An independent political group with money from a national Republican organization is running radio ads boosting conservative candidates in Anchorage’s local school board races.

How a small, Arctic village found itself in the middle of Alaska’s new oil boom

Alaska is on the verge of a new oil boom -- and the village of Nuiqsut is right in the middle. Now the village faces tough choices. How do you maintain a way of life when the oil industry is knocking on your door?

As sea ice changes in a warming Arctic, new challenges for polar bear research

“There’s probably going to be a greater amount of uncertainty with some of the information that we’re able to provide, because it’s simply not going to be as precise as it used to be,” said wildlife biologist Todd Atwood.

These Anchorage students skipped school to attend a climate protest. Here’s why, in their own words

Despite pouring rain, about 300 people of all ages gathered at a park in midtown Anchorage to take part in the global protest.

BP Alaska agrees to pay $125k fine over hazardous waste violations on North Slope

The EPA says the oil company didn’t maintain adequate insurance and failed to properly label hazardous materials.

Anxiety creeps into oil-dependent Alaska as banks step back from Arctic investment

An aggressive advocacy campaign against banks' involvement in Arctic oil means that Alaska companies are facing more obstacles to raise the cash they need. They've responded by tailoring their pitches to financial institutions, as Alaska lawmakers fight back.

With Asian economy back on its feet, Alaskan geoduck clam fishery set to reopen

But there's a worry about low prices and the reduction of flights to Asia, meaning the clams might not make it to market as fresh as they could.
The Disney Wonder cruise ship docks near the ship loader at Skagway’s ore terminal. (Photo by Henry Leasia, KHNS - Haines)

Yukon mining industry sees opportunity in Port of Skagway

The industry wants to ensure that it has port access when ownership of the port returns to the city of Skagway from the White Pass and Yukon Railroad
A beach under cloudy skies with driftwood and spruce treees on a small island in the background

If cruise ships aren’t behind Ketchikan’s beach bacteria problem, what is?

For the fourth year in a row, weekly summer water quality tests show that most Ketchikan beaches have elevated levels of bacteria that could...

Should Alaskans fear diseases frozen in the permafrost?

Russian officials say warming permafrost could be linked to a deadly anthrax outbreak in Siberia this month. Permafrost can be found almost everywhere in Alaska — from the Arctic coast to Anchorage. But at least one expert isn’t alarmed about the potential for thawing ground to bring old diseases back to life. Listen now

Calls for Hilcorp to shut down leaking Cook Inlet gas line get louder

An ongoing natural gas leak in Cook Inlet is sparking a debate over pipeline safety. Hilcorp, the responsible company, said it can’t shut off the flow of gas through the pipeline without risking an oil spill. But a number of environmental groups disagree. Listen now

As sea ice recedes, walruses gather near Point Lay earlier than ever

Several hundred Pacific walrus are hauled out on a barrier island near the village of Point Lay, on the Chukchi Sea coast. It's the earliest such haul out since the walrus first started showing up in 2007 -- and may be linked to this year's rapidly retreating Arctic sea ice. Listen now

Porcupine caribou herd numbers highest in monitoring history

"Currently we don't have any studies specifically looking at what factors are affecting those demographics," said Jason Caikoski, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Listen now