Alaska's Energy Desk

Alaska's Energy Desk is a team of six reporters covering energy and environment in Alaska. We produce in-depth enterprise reporting for radio, video and web. The team is a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska and supported with a grant from CPB.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski is in Alaska holding field hearings as the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Monday, she invited leaders from the state’s energy, mining and labor sectors to offer their perspectives on how the federal government is doing its job managing public lands. Most of the testimony expressed frustration with federal regulations and how they are implemented. Download Audio

Scientists say warm winter weather around the circumpolar north has led to another record-setting year of decreasing sea-ice coverage of the Arctic Ocean. The extent of sea ice formed over this past winter fell short of the previous record-low extent set last year. Download Audio

Alaska Airlines is canceling dozens of flights as Pavlof volcano, on the Alaska Peninsula - spews ash more than 30 thousand feet in the air. Download Audio

Diminishing Arctic Ocean ice due to climate warming has been blamed for everything from changing weather patterns to the decline of animals that rely on frozen habitat. But submarines? Seriously, the US Navy has studied the Arctic ice for over half a century, using submarines to explore changes beneath the frozen surface. This invaluable data has a dual purpose. Download Audio

A delegation from Russia recently visited Galena, as part of a state department-funded cultural exchange. The program allowed civic leaders from two riverside villages to share ideas about how to prepare for, respond to, and maybe even prevent, spring breakup flooding.

A volcano in southwest Alaska erupted Sunday, sending an ash cloud up to 30,000 feet into the atmosphere. Pavlof Volcano, located at the southern end of the Alaska Peninsula, suddenly began issuing black ash and fountains of lava around 4 p.m.
Alaska News Nightly by Alaska Public Media

A bill to revise oil and gas tax credits from the House Resources Committee includes only a fraction of the savings Governor Bill Walker proposed. Download Audio

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which runs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, is splitting with its longtime provider of oil spill prevention and response services in Prince William Sound. Download Audio

Government leaders and policymakers from circumpolar nations say they rely on the very best and latest science to make decisions about how to adapt to climate change and a rapidly warming Arctic. They converged in Fairbanks last week at the same time as one of the largest groups of Arctic scientists met to brainstorm on the next round of new research. Download Audio
151012_ShellPolarPioneer_Ryan_02-900x675

The Obama Administration released its draft plan for offshore oil and gas drilling over the next five years. It includes three lease sales in Alaska: two in the Arctic - in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas - and one in Cook Inlet.
north slope

The director of the Bureau of Land Management is visiting the North Slope this week. Over the next two days, director Neil Kornze will meet with Native corporations, local government officials, and community leaders in the region. On Tuesday, Kornze was helping cap two legacy wells south of Barrow. The Simpson Core and Iko Bay were both drilled by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s. They’re among 18 legacy wells the BLM plans to clean up this year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting Washington Thursday. He and President Barack Obama this morning issued a joint statement on Arctic leadership, climate and energy.

Lawmakers facing a mammoth budget deficit are weighing cuts to the PFD. Experts say that will have ripple effects throughout the economy. Meanwhile, as Alaska considers scaling back the dividend, the rest of the world is warming to the idea. Download Audio

BP has announced it will cut the number of drill rigs operating at Prudhoe Bay, from five to two, as a result of low oil prices.

The company is one of the largest leaseholders in Cook Inlet, where it has been exploring since 2010. A spokesperson said the company expects job losses to be "minimal," since Apache has been scaling back operations in Alaska for the past year. Download Audio

The U.S. Department of Energy has picked a southwest Alaska village for funding to advance development of an underwater river turbine that could replace diesel power with clean energy.

The top energy industry lobbyist in Alaska denounced Governor Bill Walker’s proposed oil and gas tax changes on Monday. Alaska Oil and Gas Association President Kara Moriarty told the House Resources Committee that companies can’t afford higher costs when oil prices are low.
Gov. Bill Walker at a press conference in the Capitol, Oct. 23, 2015. He announced that he was dropping a proposed natural gas reserves tax from the special session agenda. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

State officials have put a number on how much they will trim from next year’s budget for marketing liquefied natural gas from the proposed pipeline: $7 million. That’s the cut Governor Bill Walker’s administration will make to its budget request. It reduces the number of companies marketing gas to customers in Asia from three to one.
Reporter's roundtable update on energy

Listen Now: On this week's Alaska Edition we discuss energy in Alaska, where bush residents have not seen prices drop for gasoline or diesel fuel, even though gas is a little more than $2 a gallon in Anchorage.

Six U.S. senators and the U.S. Secretary of Energy traveled to Bethel Monday to hold a hearing on Alaska’s energy challenges and innovations. The team included the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, lead by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. But before the hearing, the group went on a field trip to see where those challenges and innovations intersect.