Alex DeMarban

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KIVALINA -- In a whirlwind visit to Northwest Alaska on an unseasonably warm day, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday told residents of this climate-threatened village that she would work with them on their relocation efforts...

Alex DeMarban

A climate-imperiled village fearful that it could one day be wiped off the Alaska map will receive a high-profile visit early next week from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and a flock of Alaska politicians furious over recent efforts to limit oil and gas development in Alaska.

Jewell’s trip to Inupiat country in Northwest Alaska, expected for months, attracted scant attention until after President Obama announced in late January he would seek to further lock up the oil-rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and take chunks of the U.S. Arctic Ocean off the table for development...

Alex DeMarban

Gov. Bill Walker filed a motion to dismiss his citizen's lawsuit challenging his predecessor’s settlement with ExxonMobil over development of a North Slope gas field, and he submitted legislation designed to ensure future settlements related to oil and gas are properly tailored.

Walker has alleged that Gov. Sean Parnell’s 2012 settlement was “illegal” in part because it created a plan that eliminated public comment. State officials under Parnell had said the settlement was legal. The courts have not weighed in to settle the matter...

Alex DeMarban

The Obama administration has agreed to support a ConocoPhillips plan that would open the nation’s largest reserve to oil and gas activity, allowing an eight-mile gravel road to be carved through a creek setback meant to protect a traditional Native hunting area.

Conservation groups decried the record of decision issued Friday by the Bureau of Land Management, saying it would hurt habitat and wild resources in the Indiana-sized National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The agency, however, said it was selecting the development alternative that was chosen as the least environmentally destructive by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...

Alex DeMarban

In a rare appearance by a governor before a legislative committee, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker told lawmakers that he will seek to drop his citizen’s lawsuit challenging his predecessor’s settlement with ExxonMobil over development at Point Thomson, a gas-rich field on the North Slope.

The 2012 settlement under former Gov. Sean Parnell essentially laid out a development plan at the field, located at the doorstep of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In a short appearance at the House Resources Committee Wednesday followed by a quick departure -- leaving some lawmakers baffled as to why they couldn't ask follow-up questions -- Walker said he will move to dismiss his lawsuit after introducing legislation Friday intended to address his concerns...

Alex DeMarban

Officials in the Canadian province of Alberta say they hope to talk to Alaska leaders about shipping tar-sands crude oil through the state as the Keystone XL pipeline route through the Lower 48 remains bogged down in politics.

An Alaska economist said the idea faces many challenges but is possible.

“The desert is full of mirages, but the desert also has water,” said Gunnar Knapp, director of the University of Alaska Anchorage's Institute of Social and Economic Research.

He was putting a hopeful spin on Alaska’s troubling fiscal outlook, with the state facing years of billion-dollar deficits unless it can dramatically increase oil production...

Alex DeMarban

An upcoming winter board retreat for the Alaska Federation of Natives will feature a host of political leaders from Alaska, many drawn to the event by the presence of U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Despite the attendance of so many officials, the event won’t be open to the public.

The gathering in Kotzebue this month will include 10 state lawmakers hoping to share objections with the secretary over recent Interior decisions aimed at protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the waters off Alaska’s coast by limiting oil and gas development...

Alex DeMarban,Nathaniel Herz

Gov. Bill Walker said Thursday he intends to soon dismiss his personal lawsuit over his predecessor’s settlement with ExxonMobil regarding development of the long-dormant Point Thomson state lease on the North Slope.

That is what lawmakers in the Alaska House recently requested in a letter sent to the governor. But Walker's press secretary, Grace Jang, said the governor's statement that he would dismiss the suit has nothing to do with that request.

It's "of his own volition," she said...

Alex DeMarban

The Interior Department is poised to expand Indian Country in Alaska, but the new Walker administration wants time to assess the potential impact to the state and possibly pursue a congressional compromise in a long-running battle affecting tribal and state sovereignty.

To that end, state Attorney General Craig Richards i s asking for a six-month delay in a case before a federal appeals court to give the state time to work with stakeholders in developing policy addressing tribal issues and to consider alternatives to continuing the legal fight, including the possible compromise...

Alex DeMarban

Rural Alaskans used to costly or clunky Internet service – including teachers who sometimes sweep snow off satellite dishes for a signal – might not be surprised to hear that a new nationwide report from the Federal Communications Commission shows Alaska trailing most of the nation when it comes to Internet speed.

“It’s not very good and it’s very expensive, like everything else out here,” said Richard Spencer, a technology liaison and the math teacher at the Kalskag village high school in Southwest Alaska...

Alex DeMarban

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