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.

In Kaktovik, sea ice loss means a boom in polar bear tourism

That’s when outsiders started showing up in Kaktovik: tourists, who wanted to see polar bears before they went extinct.

Gustavus households offered safe drinking water after latest PFAS scare

It’s a growing national issue: A foam used to suppress oil fires can leach into the environment and contaminate groundwater. Listen now

2018 second warmest year on record for Bethel

Climate changes are hitting home in many ways: the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race had to make a last-minute route change, and the Kuskokwim River is taking longer to freeze, so more residents in remote Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities have to travel by air instead.

Alaska Native issues feature prominently at hearing on Arctic Refuge oil leasing

At the Anchorage hearing on oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Native voices provided passionate testimony on both sides of the issue.

Judge blocks Trump administration move to undo Obama ban on Arctic oil leasing

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, in an opinion released late Friday, said President Donald Trump exceeded his authority by issuing an executive order in 2017 that reopened large parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas to offshore oil leasing. Former President Barack Obama had protected those areas from development in his second term.

In Utqiaġvik, learning about climate change includes studying your backyard

In Alaska’s northernmost town, eighth grade students study climate change in a way that encompasses the global picture, but pays particular attention to what’s going on in their own backyard.

In Arctic Village, Gwich’in leaders say the fight to stop drilling in the Arctic Refuge isn’t over

Until recently, Gwich'in tribes were on the winning side of battle over over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Then, in late 2017, Congress opened the coastal plain to oil development So Gwich'in tribes are now taking unprecedented steps to try to protect the caribou herd they depend on.

Pebble opponents sue Trump administration over EPA reversal

They are challenging EPA’s decision this summer to throw out what some saw as a “preemptive veto” of the proposed copper and gold mine, claiming the agency did not properly justify the decision.

Chinook salmon are getting smaller, and researchers say killer whales may be to blame

Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, are getting smaller, and a team of scientists at the University of Washington think they know why. A new study says killer whales might be behind Chinook’s declining size.

Switch from BP’s corporate giving model to Hilcorp’s employee contributions could be ‘a bucket of cold water’ for nonprofits

Hilcorp’s philanthropic strategy is more about individual employee giving than corporate sponsorship. And, a national expert says, that’ll diffuse the giving and make it harder to predict — at least at first.

Using space-based radar, researchers develop new method for measuring Arctic lake methane emissions

Methane, which can trap 30 times more heat than carbon dioxide and contribute to global warming, has been hard to study in the Arctic.

Alaska’s pro-oil Republican governor is quietly pushing green energy projects too

Even as climate change threatens to impose steep costs in Alaska, Dunleavy is still promoting the state's oil industry. But he says he's excited by the plummeting cost of renewable power sources, and their potential to bring down electricity prices and recruit more business to the state.
A line coming up to a boat attached to some buoys with kelp hanging down

In Alaska, interest in kelp farming is on the rise, but bureaucracy’s still catching up

Before kelp farmers can put lines in the water, kelp farmers have to apply for state and federal permits, which include opportunities for public comment. The whole process can take up to two years, and a lot of money, time and expertise

Murkowski field hearing highlights rural Alaska’s unique energy issues, solutions

When Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski chose Bethel for a field hearing of the Senate Energy Committee – which she chairs – she had a very specific point to make. Download Audio

Culturally valuable yellow cedar on the decline

Yellow cedar trees grow from the top of California, all the way to Alaska, and according to a recent study, the Southeast part of the state could be the hardest hit with yellow cedar’s decline, due to the planet heating up. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been petitioned to put yellow cedar on the endangered species list. The wood is commercially valuable. It’s culturally valuable, too. Listen now

Cook Inlet leaks draw more scrutiny for Hilcorp and its aging infrastructure

State regulators on Monday announced an oil leak from an underwater pipeline owned by Hilcorp in Cook Inlet was halted successfully. Listen now

Ask a Climatologist: August is Alaska’s rainiest month

August is the rainiest month in Alaska. But how rainy? That depends on where you live. Listen now

In China, Alaska gets new gasline partners — but no guarantees

The deal links Alaska’s gas pipeline project to three Chinese entities with deep pockets. Listen now

Iñupiat leadership organizations contemplate a “unified voice”

“I definitely think it’s possible to have a unified voice but it’s never going to be truly unified unless all entities that were invited to the table take advantage of it,” Utqiaġvik Mayor Fannie Suvlu said. Listen now

Alaska’s China trade mission wraps up with no big gasline news

Gov. Walker and the delegation met with Sinopec, the state-owned oil and gas company that could be a partner for the gasline. But the company's president said there was a lot more work to be done on the project than originally imagined. Listen now