"A decision by the Department of the Interior to open up comments on a scientific study looking at how polar bears are impacted by oil and gas activity is raising questions from observers who say the department may be looking to undermine any opposition to drilling in protected Alaskan wilderness."
Alaska and Hawaii
"Yellow cedar is a commercially valuable tree species for the timber industry. It grows from California all the way to Southeast Alaska, but there are fewer living trees growing across the range because of climate change."
"Two environmental groups gave formal notice Friday that they will sue to protect endangered Alaska beluga whales from problems caused by oil and gas operations."
"NUIQSUT, Alaska — The varnished wooden cross stands amid a cluster of grave markers tilted at odd angles in the cemetery, because the ground beneath them is sinking. Rising temperatures are thawing the once-frozen earth, forming pools of water that run through the graveyard."
Millions of acres of pristine Arctic wilderness long at the heart of a national debate over energy development and conservation are expected to be in the news again in 2020, with renewed plans to open land for drilling. The latest TipSheet explains the backstory and why the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge matters, plus story ideas and reporting resources.
"Monsanto pleaded guilty to spraying a banned pesticide on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and agreed to pay $10.2 million in criminal fines and other payments for the spraying and for illegally storing hazardous waste, U.S. prosecutors said."
"Top Trump administration officials have said that they plan to hold an oil and gas lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the end of the year. But that goal now appears out of reach because of two procedural steps still necessary before a sale can take place."
"The bowhead whale hunt is an essential cultural and subsistence tradition for the Inupiat of Alaska's North Slope. It dates back at least 1,500 years, and annual harvests can supply families with hundreds of pounds of meat."
When it comes to telling environment and energy stories, especially about place and scale, data visualizations can turn an average story into a standout. Reporter’s Toolbox takes a look at some recent examples of inspiring data-mapping projects that provide insight into everything from auto emissions and floods to vanishing rivers and whipping winds.