Bearded seals dwelling in the icy waters between Alaska and Russia will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt to reverse that status Monday.
Government scientists just dramatically increased their estimates for how much oil Alaska’s North Slope might hold
The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and nearby state- and Alaska Native-owned lands on the western part of Alaska's North Slope hold much more oil than previously believed, according to a new report issued Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey. The new USGS estimate, influenced by exploration successes in the region and produced in accordance with an order from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, put the mean estimate for technically recoverable oil in those onshore areas at 8.7 billion barrels.
The decline of Alaska's biggest caribou herd appears to have stopped, biologists studying the herd report.The Western Arctic Caribou Herd, which numbered 490,000 in 2003 but dropped to less than half that a decade later, appears to have stabilized and is showing signs of increase, state and federal biologists told an advisory panel last week.
Months after dozens of walruses and thousands of birds died in mysterious circumstances in the Bering Sea, scientists have discovered a clue in the case: positive test results for algal toxins associated with warm waters. Four walruses and five seabirds were carrying saxitoxin, an algal biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. Whether the saxitoxin contributed to the deaths is unknown and unlikely to be determined, but it is a sign of changes in the Bering Sea, where waters are now warmer than they were in the past and where sea ice has been running at record lows for this time of year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
While ANWR fight grabs headlines, a different part of Alaska’s Arctic is seeing a burst in oil exploration
While debate is focused on a controversial budget measure to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a more accessible oil and gas frontier in Arctic Alaska is producing industry excitement and drawing significant investment. The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, or NPR-A, and adjoining state lands around the Colville River Delta on the western side of the North Slope have proved to be an attractive place for new oil development, thanks to recent and rich discoveries, accessibility of infrastructure.
Should an Alaska state agency be allowed to build a 211-mile road into the wilds of the Brooks Range to enable mine development in a remote part of the Arctic? That's the question a multiagency environmental review is asking of a controversial proposal to build the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project, which could open commercial opportunities for mining of copper and other mineral deposits in a now-roadless part of northwestern Alaska.