Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is planning a three-day trip to Alaska.
Salazar is preparing to decide whether to issue final drilling permits to Shell Oil, which hopes to drill exploratory wells this summer in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
The department announcement on Salazar’s trip was mum on whether the secretary intends to make an announcement on Arctic offshore drilling in Alaska.
Shell still needs the Coast Guard to complete a review of an oil spill containment vessel before it can drill. The company also is seeking a waiver of requirements in the air permit it received from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Interior Department says Salazar on Saturday and Sunday will tour the North Slope and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.
- Administration officials have a mouthful of a name for it: the “capped hybrid head tax.” It's a flat 1.5 percent of wages and self-employment income, with a maximum of twice the value of that year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
- A federal district court has sided with conservationists fighting to preserve the U.S. Forest Service's "roadless rule" that limits road building in national forests. Alaska conservationists opposed to expanded logging in Tongass National Forest hailed the ruling as a victory.