Alaska fish and game license sales hit post-recession high

By Sam Friedman, Newsminer.com

Sportsmen spent more on Alaska sport hunting and fishing licenses last year than they have any year since 2008.

The 2015 Alaska hunting and fishing license data published last week show sportsmen spent $27.3 million on licenses and tags last year, an increase of about 5 percent from 2014. That’s not significant in the the scope of the state’s $3.5 billion deficit, but it’s one of the bright spots in this year’s budget.

The fees for sport licenses didn’t to go up last year, so the revenue increase came entirely from a bump in license, tag and stamp sales.

Russia Hopes Arctic Partners Understand Danger of Regional Confrontation

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia hopes that other Arctic states will not resort to confrontation in issues related to the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“We are strongly committed to resolving any disputes through civilized negotiations. We hope that our Arctic Council colleagues are aware of the danger of assuming confrontational approaches and importing tensions as well,” Lavrov said in his article for the Shared Voices magazine on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic Council.

Read more.

Alaska Board of Fisheries to meet in Fairbanks

By Sam Friedman, Newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA — The statewide Alaska Board of Fisheries comes to Fairbanks next week for a five-day meeting to discuss fish regulations for the Arctic, Yukon and Kuskokwim regions.

The meetings start on Tuesday and are scheduled to continue through Saturday at the Alpine Lodge near Fairbanks International Airport.

The Board of Fisheries is a seven-member board that sets fishing regulations in state waters. The board reviews its rules for each region of Alaska every three years.

For more information about this meeting, including an agenda, go to 1.usa.gov/1O7COIN.

Despite protests, oil industry thrives under Obama energy agenda

By Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Bloomberg

WASHINGTON – The nation’s biggest fossil-fuel trade group delivered its annual state-of-the-industry report Tuesday. True to form, it included a whack at President Barack Obama‘s policies — even though oil and gas have flourished on his watch.

U.S. oil production has surged 82 percent to near-record levels in the past seven years and natural gas is up by nearly one-quarter. Instead of shutting down the hydraulic fracturing process that has unlocked natural gas from dense rock formations, Obama has promoted the fuel as a stepping stone to a greener, renewable future.

A Black Carbon Crackdown Could Cool Temperatures

Hannah Hoag | HuffPostScience

Emissions of carbon dioxide have a far greater role in climate change, but short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon – soot – also speed up warming, especially in the Arctic.

Black carbon, also known as soot, has an important role in global warming, especially in the Arctic. When it’s in the atmosphere, it traps heat, and when it falls on snow or ice, it speeds up melting. Curbing black carbon emissions could help slow down the planet’s warming

Shell seeks to preserve U.S. drilling rights in Arctic Ocean

Jennifer A. Dlouhy | Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — Royal Dutch Shell is fighting to preserve U.S. drilling rights in Arctic waters three months after halting exploration indefinitely there because it failed to find meaningful oil or natural gas deposits.

Europe’s largest oil company filed a notice of appeal Tuesday challenging the Interior Department’s Oct. 29 rejection of the company’s requests to stop the clock on Arctic oil and gas leases that otherwise expire between 2017 and 2020. The dispute is expected to undergo an administrative review by the Interior Board of Land Appeals, possibly delaying a final judgment until after a new president takes office.

Murkowski: Tough Arctic conditions, regulations justify more flexible offshore oil leasing

By Yereth RosenAlaska Dispatch News

Decisions by Royal Dutch Shell and by Statoil to pull out of the U.S. Arctic offshore show that the federal government should change its oil and gas leasing program for that remote region, Senator Lisa Murkowski argued at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Murkowski used an Energy and Natural Resources Committee to reiterate her call for Arctic-specific terms that are longer than the standard 10-year duration that applies to federal offshore oil and gas leases.

Read full article here.

Second major oil company abandons Arctic exploration

By JAMES BROOKS, Juneau Empire

Environmental groups are hailing the announcement that Norwegian oil giant Statoil is giving up on its oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. The reaction of the state’s elected officials has been far different.

On Tuesday, the company posted on its website that it “has decided to exit Alaska following recent exploration results in neighbouring leases.”

Statoil has held leases in the Chukchi Sea for seven years but has never drilled in Arctic waters off Alaska. Elsewhere in the Arctic, it remains an active driller.

Read full article.

Interior Department curbs future Arctic offshore drilling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Interior Department announced Friday it is canceling future lease sales and will not extend current leases in Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast, a decision that significantly reduces the chances for future Arctic offshore drilling.

The news follows a Sept. 28 announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that it would cease exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas after spending upward of $7 billion on Arctic exploration. The company cited disappointing results from a well drilled in the Chukchi and the unpredictable federal regulatory environment.

Japan to play Active Role in Int’l Processes Related to Arctic Exploration

TOKYO (Sputnik) – Japan intends to play an active role in establishing international regulations governing the development of the Arctic region, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday following a Maritime Policy general directions meeting.

“Our country, an important player in the matters of the North Pole, will promote science and technology, which are our strengths. [We] need to actively play a leading role in global processes related to the Arctic,” Abe was quoted by the Kyodo news agency as saying.

The Japanese government’s program on Arctic development was adopted earlier in the day. It outlines the country’s planned involvement in the development of maritime routes in the region, as well as mineral extraction.