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.

Caelus Energy announces major cuts, sharply criticizes Walker oil tax bill

The North Slope oil producer announced Friday it will lay off 25 percent of its 80-person work force and suspend drilling at the Oooguruk oil field, potentially affecting hundreds more contractor jobs.

Changes to oil tax bill scale back incentives for new oil

With just over a week left in the legislative session, lawmakers are wrangling over the always-contentious issue of oil taxes. Gov. Bill Walker had requested a complete overhaul of the state's oil and gas tax credit program. The House Resources scaled back that proposal. Now, a third committee has weighed in. The House Finance committee chose a middle route -- while also introducing some changes that weren't even in the governor's bill. Download Audio

Offshore drilling plan draws protests

The tentative proposal would allow lease sales in the Arctic Ocean and Cook Inlet.

Rep. Olson bill would tax Permanent Fund dividends as budget stopgap

Representative Kurt Olson, a Soldotna Republican developed a plan to tax Permanent Fund dividends back in February. But he didn’t introduce it at the time, because he wanted to see how the debate over plans from Governor Bill Walker and others unfolded. Download Audio

At low prices, North Slope production taxes could drop to zero

Many lawmakers say they never understood how the tax system would work at very low prices. But industry says this was always part of the deal. Download Audio

Alaska’s unusual oil tax credit system poses daunting budget challenge

The state's refundable credit program is unusual - and huge. In recent years, refundable credits have become the third-largest line item in the general fund budget. Download Audio

Murkowski holds hearings to discuss public lands handling

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

‘Huge anomaly’: warm winter limits sea-ice formation, experts say

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

Flights cancelled as Pavlov continues to spew ash

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

Arctic submarine maneuvers test capability below the ice

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

US-Russian exchange discusses spring breakup flooding solutions

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.

Pavlof eruption triggers ash cloud advisory

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.
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Savings on tax credits for oil and gas not as high as proposed

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

Plan to replace tanker escort in Prince William Sound raises concerns in Valdez

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

Irreversibility of climate change discussed at Arctic Science Summit

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
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Offshore leasing plan leaves door open to Arctic drilling – for now

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.
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BLM director visits 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.

Trudeau, Obama issue joint statement on Arctic, climate, energy

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.

PFD cuts could mean big ripples in Alaska economy

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

Prudhoe Bay rig count to drop by more than half

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.