"After one of the biggest environmental fights in decades, exploratory drilling is expected to begin in July off the state's north coast. The company has plans in case of a spill; opponents say normal operations will still release damaging chemicals."
Alaska and Hawaii
"ANCHORAGE -- U.S. Forest Service researchers have confirmed what has long been suspected about a valuable tree in Alaska's Panhandle: Climate warming is killing off yellow cedar."
"The commissioner of [Alaska's] Department of Natural Resources wants to change the agency's mission statement, and the proposed changed is not sitting well with at least one lawmaker and conservation groups who are worried about a pro-development bent."
"Sea ice is encroaching unusually early on the central Bering Sea, threatening to grind Alaska's economically important snow crab fishery to a halt at the peak of the season, leaving crabbers facing major losses."
"In a new package of policies criticized even by some hunters, the Alaska Board of Game on Tuesday opened the door to aerial gunning of bears by state wildlife officials. It also debated a measure that would allow more widespread snaring of bears — including grizzlies, which are officially considered threatened across most of the U.S."
"Royal Dutch Shell has been on a six-year crusade to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast, and has spent about $4 billion on the effort so far without drilling a single well. But the company took one more bureaucratic baby step forward this week toward drilling in the Chukchi Sea later this year. An appeals board of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected four challenges brought by Alaska Native entities and environmental groups like Earthjustice to block Clean Air Act permits covering airborne emissions from industrial operations."
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."