Alaska snow cover thinning, may pose hurdle for refuge drilling

Snow depths on Alaska’s North Slope have thinned this year. A desirable piece of waterfront property in downtown Juneau may have a new private owner. An unprecedented summer drought drained reservoirs and wells across Alaska. It’s creating a possible obstacle for exploration in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Southeast’s landless Alaska Native communities want to form five new village corporations out of 115,000 acres. Morgan Howard from the University of Alaska Land Management office said the potential buyer is still interested.

Brisk arctic winds have been blowing away the snow layer on the 1.5 million-acre coastal plane. It’ll be a lean winter for state ferries as the system reduces service across the board. Kwethluk is partnering with Nuvista Light and Electric Cooperative to build a battery storage system. The institute found two-thirds of the tundra had a snow layer less-than-required for travel. More than $2.3 million dollars has been returned to the City of Unalaska. More than 30 nations will attend a meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds.

Oil companies rely on a deep and consistent snow cover to protect environmentally sensitive tundra. The gathering is the first time the voluntary global organization’s annual conference has met in the United States. It moving vehicles and equipment. The city will have to decide whether to work with the new property owner to achieve its long-term goals. Tariffs on American timber headed to China have put the university’s negotiations on hold. It will keep the power on during outages, and could one day help wean the community off diesel fuel.

Matthew Sturm, a snow expert at the university’s Geophysical Institute says “It is potentially going to take a different approach because of the challenging snow conditions”.

Village administrators are assessing long-term options after local aquifers ran dry last month. The 19-million-acre refuge’s coastal plain was off limits for decades until the 2017 tax bill signed by President Donald Trump. Farmers are pumping water and pondering new wells as rain catchment tanks. The sender of the email represented themselves as a known vendor. The Alaska Permanent Fund is hosting the event, which aims to help sovereign fund managers. An environmental study of the area, known as 1002, is being expedited so the government can sell drilling rights as soon as later this year.

It’s considerably more than the City and Borough of Juneau’s bid of $4,250,049. It cut the budget by $43.6 million dollars rather than risk losing it altogether. However, it could be years before any drilling. Meanwhile, a committee in the Democrat-led House on Sept. 9. The potential bidder for the timber sale does not see this time as a good time to engage. The gathering will be an opportunity to highlight U.S. priorities. The potential for oil-and-gas operations east of Prudhoe Bay. The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act allotted millions of acres of land to 13 regional Alaska Native corporations.

The Alaska Natural Resources Department in March said the snow pack was below the 9-inch threshold at which vehicle movement is allowed. That’s created a coalition of five landless communities in Southeast. City Manager Erin Reinders said as soon as they were made aware of the fraudulent activity in October. A Juneau environmental group plans to be active in dissuading the fund managers. In between the dunes, the depth was less than six inches, the institute said. Tuluksak residents endured several multi-day power outages.

Sturm says “We do not have a sufficient climate record to know or even predict statistically”.

The university said aerial mapping is essential to understand snow cover. Kwethluk and Nuvista Light and Electric Cooperative have $477,050 from the Department of Energy. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will lease the area for exploration. The Alaska Marine Highway System opened booking for its winter schedule. It completed hearings on a draft environmental impact statement earlier this year. The group, 350 Juneau, plans to hold a rally and a lecture. BP last month agreed to sell its Alaskan business. The sale, to Hilcorp Energy Co., was for $5.6 billion.

The minimum bid was $3.6 million, which is also the appraised value of the lot. The current tariff on spruce logs exported to China is 25%. Oil companies have no new data to use for making bids. Basically it’s for promoting community resilience for community facilities and tribal members. Proposed aerial and seismic surveys of the area haven’t won permits. What the trend in the industry is now is to seek out more engagement. Researchers said snow depths are average this year compared with the deep-snow of 2018.

Permitting and potential markets for the spruce and hemlock on 13,000 acres. It’s a decision across the board when we had to reduce our service. Unlike snow that falls in the contiguous 48 states. Watt knew private interests were eyeing the 2.9-acre parcel when the city sent in its bid. Reinders would not comment on who the legitimate vendor was. In Seldovia, local officials estimate the community reservoir holds only 16 days’ worth of water. The snow in the refuge builds during the winter and tends not to melt after landing on frozen ground.

It is also more prone to evaporating when blow by wind gusts. There’s no apparent reason certain communities were left out. The area on which leases are to be offered has snow cover that is thinner. Federal officials were able to recover $2,347,544.43 of the nearly $3 million. It known as Kuparuk, and in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, known as NPRA. The project is similar to ones in Kongiganak and Kwigillingok. These are likely to be surrounded by snow deserts that will require building snow roads in order to transit.

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