BLM director visiting Alaska’s North Slope

Arctic waters seen from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Photo: NASA Goddard Center.
Arctic waters seen from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Photo: NASA Goddard Center.

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.

Tuesday, Director Kornze is helping cap two cores 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.

Wednesday, the director will travel to Wainwright to finalize the transfer of 1,500 acres of federal land to the Olgoonik Corporaiton, According to the BLM, the land was used by the Department of Defense for national defense purposes. The land is being sold to Olgoonik to support future economic development.

The trip is part of the BLM’s effort to focus on Arctic issues. This is Director Kornze’s fifth visit to Alaska’s North Slope.

Emily Russell is the voice of Alaska morning news as Alaska Public Media’s Morning News Host and Producer.

Originally from the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Emily moved to Alaska in 2012. She skied her way through three winters in Fairbanks, earning her Master’s degree in Northern Studies from UAF.

Emily’s career in radio started in Nome in 2015, reporting for KNOM on everything from subsistence whale harvests to housing shortages in Native villages. She then worked for KCAW in Sitka, finally seeing what all the fuss with Southeast, Alaska was all about.

Back on the road system, Emily is looking forward to driving her Subaru around the region to hike, hunt, fish and pick as many berries as possible. When she’s not talking into the mic in the morning, Emily can be found reporting from the peaks above Anchorage to the rivers around Southcentral.

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