Alaska and Hawaii
Can southwest Alaska make money from its rich mineral deposits without destroying the Bristol Bay fishery that is currently an economic mainstay?
"In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea."
Offshore oil and gas drilling from 2012-2017 would be focused in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of northern and southern Alaska, if the Dept. of Interior's proposed plan and draft programmatic environmental impact statement, released Nov. 8, 2011, are accepted as is. A 60-day public comment period ends Jan. 9, 2012.
"The worst was over on Thursday for an 'epic' winter storm that pounded Alaska's west coast with wind and snow and sent a 10-foot surge of seawater into Nome, officials said, leaving residents to assess the damage."
"ANCHORAGE -- An 'epic' storm was bearing down on western Alaska on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said, warning that it could be one of the worst on record for the state."
"WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana -- An ant species common to the mainland United States that is known for its tropical smell has invaded Hawaii for the first time. A population of odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile, has been found at an upland site on the island of Maui. Also called stink ant, and coconut ant, these ants got their names because they invade houses and smell like coconut when smashed."
"Back in February, the Parnell administration told a judge that Cook Inlet beluga whales didn't need the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act because the state was perfectly capable of protecting them itself, in part because of the Alaska Coastal Management Program. But in a notice belatedly filed in the case Friday, the Alaska attorney general's office acknowledged the state had lost that conservation and enforcement tool four months ago."
"The Yukon River is delivering upwards of five tons of mercury a year to the Arctic environment, likely in response to a warming climate, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday."
"The leaseholder for a controversial coal mine proposed in the Matanuska Valley has withdrawn its application for a state air quality permit for a second time, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation and the company, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc."