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.
Alaska and Hawaii
"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.
As U.S. coal’s comedown continues, our latest Issue Backgrounder takes a close look at the factors behind the industry’s decline and finds a combination of economics, competition and shifting global markets, along with aging technology, politics and environmental pushback. What’s in store for coal in 2020?
"If the timber industry in Alaska is looking to harvest more trees, the Trump administration's proposal to open roadless areas in Tongass National Forest to logging might not be the way to get there."
"The Trump administration Tuesday proposed allowing logging on more than half of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America."
"Alaska’s Bristol Bay is a rare pristine salmon fishery. Can it survive a rapidly changing climate—and a massive, Trump-backed mine?"