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.

Photos: China Trade Mission

Alaska's Energy Desk's Rashah McChesney is in China covering Governor Walker's Opportunity Alaska: China Trade & Investment Mission 2018.
a herd of caribouo eat grass in some rolling hills

Kaktovik Iñupiat Corp. misses key deadline for seismic work in Arctic refuge this winter

Before it could get approval for what’s known as a seismic survey, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation had to make three flights to search for polar bear dens in part of the refuge. The Interior Department says the corporation did not complete the work.

Gas line team reshuffle puts scrutiny on high salaries

As the state prepares to take a larger role in the Alaska LNG gas line project, its leadership team is once again in flux. The changes are bringing new attention to the salaries involved -- including one negotiator who has been paid about $120,000 a month since June. Download Audio
Wrangell’s mayor. Steve Prysunka. circulated this image on social media. It shows the lack of water running into Wrangell’s reservoirs. (Photo Courtesy of City of Wrangell)

Rains erase last of ‘severe drought’ in Southeast as conditions improve statewide

Places like Ketchikan, Wrangell and as far north as Juneau are still in “moderate drought.”

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.

What does the Dunleavy administration mean for the proposed Pebble Mine?

Officially, Gov. Mike Dunleavy is not taking a position on the mine, unlike his predecessor, Gov. Bill Walker, who opposed it. But the new governor is already making moves that have encouraged the mine’s backers and worried its opponents.

Renewed fight, but old arguments for lawmakers wanting to open ANWR for drilling

Over the past 25 years, Alaska’s Legislature has passed nearly a dozen resolutions asking Congress to allow drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But this year, something is different. There’s been more push back and public testimony opposed to passing an Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) resolution. Listen now

New legislation improves earthquake preparedness in Alaska

The legislation, which now awaits the president’s signature, could help Alaska implement the latest technology to monitor earthquakes.

Alaska job forecast holds steady despite plunging oil prices

As oil prices have dropped to levels that were unthinkable just a year ago, many Alaskans are wondering whether the state is facing economic calamity. The short answer is: not yet. We spoke with state labor economist Neal Fried, to ask how it's possible that at $30 dollars a barrel, Alaska is still doing pretty well. Download Audio

Former tax division director weighs in on Prudhoe Bay oil tax case

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

Video: Can we harness the power of Cook Inlet?

Cook Inlet has some of the most dramatic tidal shifts on the planet. From scientists to startups, many have speculated how this fast-flowing water could be harnessed to produce electricity. Professor Tom Ravens (University of Alaska Anchorage) and Chris Rose (Renewable Energy Project Alaska) discuss the potential and challenges of tapping hydro-kinetic energy.

Interior official: ‘millions’ more acres in NPR-A to open for oil development

An Interior Department official says the Trump administration is moving to open "millions" more acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or NPR-A, to oil development. Listen now

Lawmakers quiz state regulators on $5.6B Hilcorp, BP deal

House and Senate Resources committee members asked about everything from layoffs to whether Hilcorp has the financial resources to manage the assets it wants to take over.

Arctic sea ice minimum continues downward trend, with implications beyond the Arctic

"The Arctic’s like an air conditioner or refrigerator for the global climate...And as the Arctic warms, partly because the sea ice is going away, it’s like you’re opening that refrigerator door." Listen now

A judge blocked a Trump plan for a controversial road through an Alaska wildlife refuge. Now the administration is appealing.

Lawyers for the Trump administration are appealing a decision by federal judge Sharon Gleason that blocked a land exchange that was supposed to lead to construction of a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on the Alaska Peninsula.
The BP Building in Anchorage.

Economists say the loss of BP jobs will be significant, but ‘not disastrous’ for Alaska’s economy

BP, which has been a major employer in Alaska for decades, is planning to sell all of its assets in the state to Hilcorp, a smaller, private company.

Ask a Climatologist: New satellite will improve forecasts, inform policy

"There's always something new and fascinating that you've never see before when there's a new generation satellite that's launched." Listen now

Scientists urge Obama to end offshore drilling leases in Arctic

388 scientists sent a letter to President Barack Obama today, asking for an end to offshore lease sales in the Arctic. Download Audio

Nonprofit raises questions over recent Donlin state permits

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.