"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."
Alaska and Hawaii
"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."
Offshore oil and gas drilling from 2012-2017 would be focused in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of northern and southern Alaska, if the Dept. of Interior's proposed plan and draft programmatic environmental impact statement, released Nov. 8, 2011, are accepted as is. A 60-day public comment period ends Jan. 9, 2012.
"The worst was over on Thursday for an 'epic' winter storm that pounded Alaska's west coast with wind and snow and sent a 10-foot surge of seawater into Nome, officials said, leaving residents to assess the damage."