Last week, the Trump Administration released its National Security Strategy, a 55-page document intended to lay out the administration's strategic interests, threats, and capabilities. Since the 1980's, U.S. administrations have typically released such a strategy about once per four-year term. In releasing its NSS in December, the Trump Administration became the first to do so in its first year in office.
Government scientists just dramatically increased their estimates for how much oil Alaska’s North Slope might hold
The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and nearby state- and Alaska Native-owned lands on the western part of Alaska's North Slope hold much more oil than previously believed, according to a new report issued Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey. The new USGS estimate, influenced by exploration successes in the region and produced in accordance with an order from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, put the mean estimate for technically recoverable oil in those onshore areas at 8.7 billion barrels.
Congress just opened part of ANWR to oil exploration. Don’t expect the fight over drilling there to be over soon, though.
After a fight that spanned four decades, the U.S. Congress has lifted a ban on drilling for oil and gas in a portion of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a massive tax overhaul. The legislation was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.
Yet while the change was hailed as significant by both backers and opponents of the measure, it could be years before oil produced in the refuge's coastal plain flows down the trans-Alaska pipeline, if it ever does. And in the meantime, the fight over drilling there is not likely to end—just to shift to different battlegrounds.
This new, interactive website for water system partnerships is a one-stop-shop for states, public water systems, and the general public to find cooperative tools to address their drinking water challenges. The website will lead you through the story of partnerships, exploring the different types of partnerships to consider, and outlining examples of successful partnerships across the country. There are pages with resources, both national and state, to assist systems in the partnerships process.
The decline of Alaska's biggest caribou herd appears to have stopped, biologists studying the herd report.The Western Arctic Caribou Herd, which numbered 490,000 in 2003 but dropped to less than half that a decade later, appears to have stabilized and is showing signs of increase, state and federal biologists told an advisory panel last week.
Climate change and the eco-hydrology of fire: Will area burned increase in a warming western USA?
By Donald McKenzie and Jeremy Littell
Wildfire area is predicted to increase with global warming. Empirical statistical models and process-based simulations agree almost universally. The key relationship for this unanimity, observed at multiple spatial and temporal scales, is between drought and fire.
Predictive models often focus on ecosystems in which this relationship appears to be particularly strong, such as mesic and arid forests and shrublands with substantial biomass such as chaparral. We examine the drought–fire relationship, specifically the correlations between water-balance deficit and annual area burned, across the full gradient of deficit in the western USA, from temperate rainforest to desert.
In the middle of this gradient, conditional on vegetation (fuels), correlations are strong, but outside this range the equivalence hotter and drier equals more fire either breaks down or is contingent on other factors such as previous-year climate. This suggests that the regional drought–fire dynamic will not be stationary in future climate, nor will other more complex contingencies associated with the variation in fire extent.
Predictions of future wildfire area therefore need to consider not only vegetation changes, as some dynamic vegetation models now do, but also potential changes in the drought–fire dynamic that will ensue in a warming climate.
US Geological Survey (ret.)
There will be no commercial fishing in international waters of the Arctic Ocean for at least 16 years under a landmark 10-government agreement reached on Thursday in Washington, D.C. The agreement will close off the 1.1 million-square-mile international zone in the center of the ocean — an area known as the "Arctic donut hole."
America is at a crossroads. Now more than ever there is uncertainty around water supplies and quality across the country. At the same time, innovative leaders in regions across the country are driving groundbreaking solutions to secure a sustainable water future, now and for future generations. How do we foster a new era of collaboration and progress in water management? How do we align policy at every level of government to accelerate the innovative solutions that local leaders are pioneering?
We posed these questions and asked for solutions at 15 different Listening Sessions with 500 people across the country. Today, we are proud to begin the rollout of our One Water for America Policy Framework with the executive summary. Through the Listening Sessions we heard from leaders on the front lines of managing our nation's waters: utilities, city officials, farmers, environmental groups, community organizations, investors, and more. The insights from the Listening Sessions were then organized into 7 Big Ideas for the sustainable management of water, which we will release as a series of policy briefs starting in January.