ANCHORAGE — Two maritime unions with 250 Alaska jobs at stake have begun a campaign to stop the operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline from switching to a nonunion company for escorting oil tankers safely out of Prince William Sound, where the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in 1989.
The only company to drill an exploratory oil well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea following a 2008 federal lease sale confirmed May 10 it has relinquished nearly all of its leases.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC formally relinquished all but one of its leases in the waters off Alaska’s northwest coast, spokesman Curtis Smith said.
ANCHORAGE— Helicopters trying to rescue two skiers trapped on an Alaska ice field for four days waited out whiteout conditions that one pilot said were like flying inside a pingpong ball.
The winds and blowing snow subsided enough Tuesday to allow an Alaska Air National Guard helicopter to land in Harding Ice Field to pick up the skiers.
But the hard work wasn’t over. The rescue team had to dig down through deep snow to get Jennifer Neyman and Christopher Hanna out of their snow cave, where they took refuge after getting stranded Friday.
ANCHORAGE — Alaska Inuit hunter John Goodwin for decades has hunted ugruk, the bearded seal, a marine mammal prized for its meat, oil and hide.
The largest of Alaska’s ice seals uses sea ice to rest and birth pups, and after the long winter, when ice breaks into floes, there’s a window of opportunity for Goodwin to leave his home in Kotzebue and motor his boat between ice panels, shoot seals and butcher them before they migrate north through the Bering Strait.
ANCHORAGE — Two drill vessels employed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC off Alaska’s northwest coast have safely departed Arctic waters for the Pacific Northwest.
The 572-foot Noble Discoverer, owned by Noble Drilling U.S. LLC, reached Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands on Sunday afternoon. After a Coast Guard inspection, the vessel departed Monday for the Port of Everett in Washington state, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.
ANCHORAGE — The president of Shell Oil Co. said Tuesday that exploratory drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast is going well despite stormy weather last week that caused the company to halt operations for a few days.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Marvin Odum said he expects further protests against the company’s plans for Arctic drilling like the ones in Seattle and Portland where activists in kayaks tried to block Shell vessels.
ANCHORAGE — After months of negotiations, the Alaska Legislature on Thursday approved a $5 billion budget that reduces spending while tapping the state’s reserves to help with multibillion-dollar deficits brought on by low oil prices.
The plan now goes to Gov. Bill Walker, whose administration had been preparing for a partial government shutdown next month in case a fully funded budget wasn’t reached.
ANCHORAGE — The U.S. Supreme Court will not review a federal appeals court decision that said coal falling into Resurrection Bay from the Alaska Railroad’s loading system in Seward violates the federal Clean Water Act.
ANCHORAGE — Six Greenpeace activists protesting Arctic offshore drilling on Monday boarded a drill rig as it was transported across the Pacific Ocean toward Seattle, where it will be staged for drilling on Shell leases in Alaska waters.
The 400-foot Polar Pioneer, owned by Transocean Ltd., was on board a heavy-lift vessel about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii when the activists approached in inflatable boats and used climbing gear to get on board, Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nichols said.
ANCHORAGE — President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he’s removing more than 52,000 square miles of waters off Alaska’s coast from consideration for oil and gas exploration or drilling.
The president said in a video announcement that Bristol Bay and nearby waters, covering an area roughly the size of Florida, would be withdrawn from consideration for petroleum leases. He called Bristol Bay one of the country’s great natural resources and a massive economic engine.
ANCHORAGE — A permit covering storm-water runoff does not apply to coal falling from a conveyor belt into Resurrection Bay at Seward, a federal appeals court ruled Sept. 3.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Tim Burgess and ruled that coal dropped into the ocean by the Alaska Railroad at its Seward Coal Loading Facility would violate the federal Clean Water Act.
The ruling was made in a lawsuit brought in December 2009 by Alaska Community Action on Toxics and the Alaska chapter of the Sierra Club.
ANCHORAGE — Rumblings under Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano have diminished, but scientists are keeping an eye on the state’s most active volcano in case it sends up another ash cloud.
The volcano sent an ash plume to 22,000 feet Monday, and it drifted east about 50 miles, prompting the Alaska Volcano Observatory to raise the aviation warning in the area to red, the highest level.
A company that hopes to build underwater river turbines as a clean power alternative to diesel in Alaska villages has unveiled a prototype due to be tested in July.
Ocean Renewable Power Co., based in Portland, Maine, showed off its RivGen Power System last week in Anchorage. The device built with backing from the Alaska Energy Authority and the Denali Commission will be installed in July on the bottom of the Kvichak River to generate power for Igiugig, a community of 50 about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage.
ANCHORAGE — Two fatal crashes of Alaska commuter aircraft and five other accidents or incidents have led the National Transportation Safety Board to recommend a comprehensive safety audit of the company that provides most commuter air service within the state.
The NTSB announced May 1 an “urgent safety recommendation” that the Federal Aviation Administration review of the businesses operating under HoTH Inc. to check for regulatory compliance and operational safety.
BANCHORAGE — A new non-partisan group seeking repeal of an oil tax cut says the measure approved by state legislators was a massive giveaway that will benefit major oil companies and hurt Alaskans.
Members of Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway on April 18 announced the referendum’s prime sponsors are former state Sen. Vic Fischer, former Alaska First Lady Bella Hammond, and former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor and state Rep. Jim Whitaker.
Fischer was part of the Alaska Constitutional Convention. He labeled the tax break “unconstitutional.”
ANCHORAGE — The U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Alaska will collaborate on future research of unconventional energy resources in the arctic, including abundant reservoirs of methane hydrate.
The DOE’s acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, Christopher Smith, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan announced the agreement Tuesday and spoke to reporters from Houston, Texas, where they are attending LNG 17, a natural gas conference.
ANCHORAGE -- A national energy plan should seek to lower harmful greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate warming, but not at the expense of people already paying high costs to keep their homes warm, according to a leading Republican senator.