"Far above the Arctic Circle, one of the longest-running controversies in U.S. oil drilling is about to reignite. Bouyed by Donald Trump’s election, Republicans are pushing to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the frigid wilderness in northern Alaska that’s been a political battleground for drillers and conservationists for decades."
Alaska and Hawaii
"The tiny village of Newtok near Alaska's western coast has been sliding into the Ninglick River for years. As temperatures increase — faster there than in the rest of the U.S. — the frozen permafrost underneath Newtok is thawing. ... Now, in an unprecedented test case, Newtok wants the federal government to declare these mounting impacts of climate change an official disaster."
"When a creature mysteriously turns up dead in Alaska—be it a sea otter, polar bear, or humpback whale—veterinary pathologist Kathy Burek gets the call. Her necropsies reveal cause of death and causes for concern as climate change frees up new pathogens and other dangers in a vast, thawing north."
"Less than a month after the Obama administration announced that it was banning offshore oil and gas production in most of the Arctic, there are signs that a place many conservationists regard as the crown jewel of the Arctic could one day be open for drilling."
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management issued four plans for management of 6.5 million publicly owned acres of Alaska’s eastern interior.
"A federal plan for the recovery of an endangered Alaska beluga whale calls for a reduction in threats of high concern while scientists try to pinpoint what has kept the population from growing."
"Miners huddled around them to stay warm through the long, cold nights in the Klondike gold rush of the 1800s. Artists have enshrined them in paintings and tourist curios. For many people in America’s far north, the old-fashioned wood stove — crackling and radiant, and usually cast-iron black — is as Alaskan as it gets. But many Alaskans also see their home state as a natural wonderland, where the expectation of bracingly pristine air is just as deeply ingrained."
"KAKTOVIK, Alaska — Come fall, polar bears are everywhere around this Arctic village, dozing on sand spits, roughhousing in the shallows, padding down the beach with cubs in tow and attracting hundreds of tourists who travel long distances to see them."
"SHAKTOOLIK, Alaska — In the dream, a storm came and Betsy Bekoalok watched the river rise on one side of the village and the ocean on the other, the water swallowing up the brightly colored houses, the fishing boats and the four-wheelers, the school and the clinic."
The Obama administration has already used the century-old Antiquities Act to protect public lands more often than any president perhaps since FDR. Will the outgoing White House make additional controversial last-minute designations? Here are at least five possible locales to watch, in our newest TipSheet. Image: © Clipart.com