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.

Hilcorp revived this declining North Slope oil field. Can it do the same for Prudhoe Bay?

While many North Slope fields are only the decline, production at Hilcorp's Milne Point has actually increased by huge amounts. Now, the company is acquiring the massive Prudhoe Bay field, raising hopes of a similar revival there.

Native groups object to prison sentence of Kaktovik man who shot and wasted polar bear

After a Kaktovik man was found guilty of killing and wasting a polar bear in a small North Slope village, several prominent Alaska Native organizations are calling the sentence “inappropriate.”

50 years after a fuel spill near Haines, the Corps of Engineers plans to clean up contamination on the Chilkat River

A fuel spill from half a century ago is polluting soil and water near Haines, and the Corps of Engineers wants advice on how to clean it up.

Switch from BP’s corporate giving model to Hilcorp’s employee contributions could be ‘a bucket of cold water’ for nonprofits

Hilcorp’s philanthropic strategy is more about individual employee giving than corporate sponsorship. And, a national expert says, that’ll diffuse the giving and make it harder to predict — at least at first.

Kaktovik is crawling with polar bears. Now a man is going to prison for wasting one.

The case shows how it’s become common for polar bears to disrupt village life in Kaktovik, which sits on an island at the edge of the Beaufort Sea. As climate change melts sea ice and drives the bears ashore, residents say they’ve been under increasing stress.

Alaska oil tax initiative has enough valid signatures to appear on ballot, election officials say

When the initiative would appear on a ballot depends on when the Alaska Legislature wraps up its work.

Cook Inlet’s white whales are vanishing. Scientists still don’t know why.

In 2008, Cook Inlet belugas were listed as endangered. Still numbers continue to drop. With new analysis methods today there are even fewer whales than previously thought — less than 300, and steadily declining from there.
(USGCS photo)

Western Arctic caribou populations stable, though officials worry about warming climate

Wildlife biologists say the Western Arctic caribou herd numbers have stabilized in the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge near Kotzebue.

With no ferries to haul waste, Southeast Alaska’s septic tank problem could get messy

Not all rural communities have normal sanitation systems like city sewer and water treatment plants, instead they rely on septic systems that need to get pumped periodically. And while the Alaska Marine Highway is shut down, pump trucks cannot get to some small towns that rely on them.

A second ‘blob’ marine heat wave disappeared but warming trend will continue, scientists say

The first blob decimated fisheries, caused a mass seabird die-off, and spurred toxic algal blooms up and down the coast. As Alaska braced for the second heat wave, it disappeared — at least for now.

Dramatic ocean changes are coming ‘a couple decades too early,’ scientists say

Arctic ocean temperatures are rising at rates faster than previously thought by the scientific community. That’s the finding of a new study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which shows warming waters having an effect on everything from sea ice growth to marine ecosystems.

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.

Alaska oil, mining education group alleges former director stole at least $187,000

Alaska Resource Education, which promotes the oil and gas, mining and forestry industries in Alaska's schools, is suing former executive director Michelle Brunner, alleging she embezzled nearly $200,000.

Yukon aims to sell renewable power to Skagway cruise ships

It could be a win-win. The Yukon territory could turn a profit on their surplus, cruise ships could green up their local image, and Skagway might enjoy better air quality near the port.

Coronavirus shutters Southeast Alaska geoduck clam fishery

The coronavirus that emerged in late 2019 has infected more than 60,000 people, mostly in China. Though there haven’t been any confirmed cases in Alaska, geoduck clam fishermen are feeling ripple effects.

As it prepares to exit the state, BP donates nonprofit meeting space in Anchorage to community foundation

The Alaska Community Foundation says it will maintain the energy center as a free meeting space for at least the next 20 years.

Conoco shelves proposal to build a temporary island after criticisms from North Slope

Conoco says this is how the environmental review process is supposed to work: Communities provide input, and companies respond.

Managers restored caribou on the Nushagak Peninsula in the ’80s, now there’s so many, they’re harming the lichens

Lichens on the Nushagak Peninsula are a critical food source for the caribou that live there. But as the herd has thrived, exceeding management goals, they are depleting the complex composites.

Alaska’s largest rural solar project set to break ground in Kotzebue

The city of Kotzebue has used wind power for decades to supplement its fuel use, and is now about to break ground on a brand new solar project.