Ex-Alaska AG leads Interior office with focus on Arctic, ‘adaptation’

Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes. (Photo via State of Alaska website)

Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes has a new job at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C.

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Renkes is listed on the Interior Department’s website as the director of the Office of Policy Analysis, signaling a new direction for him and for that office.

Renkes was attorney general under then-Gov. Frank Murkowski. He resigned in 2005 after it emerged that he had negotiated a state coal deal that would’ve benefited a company he was invested in. Renkes helped craft a state agreement to sell processed coal to Taiwan, despite owning more than $100,000 of stock in the company with the patent on the technology to process the coal.

An independent investigator later said the investment was insignificant and did not amount to an ethics violation.

In his new position, Renkes leads an office at Interior that deals with Arctic issues, invasive species and what the Trump administration calls “adaptation.” In the previous administration, that program was called “climate change adaptation.”

The previous director of the office was Joel Clement. Clement contends he was removed in retaliation for his work helping Alaska Native villages adapt to climate change.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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