Alaska Resource Issues

At over half a million square miles, Alaska’s vast area holds an enormous quantity of natural resources. Remote location and lack of infrastructure have left many of these resources undeveloped. But development is being proposed in more and more areas of the state.

The economic and environmental impacts of these developments will be felt not only locally, but worldwide. We are standing at a key decision point for how we choose to manage Alaska’s natural resources. Fortunately, there is a lot we can learn about successes, failures, impacts, and consequences from choices made elsewhere in the world. One of the aims of this site is to seek out and provide as much of that information as possible, with an eye to informing wise decisions.

Not everything can be learned from the past, however. Change is inevitable. In the next few generations the way that humanity gets and uses resources will change. Climate change, demand fluctuation, resource depletion, and new technologies are all important pieces of Alaska’s resource future. How do we navigate these changes? What are the pitfalls, and the opportunities, that our resource future presents?

We’re trying to do our part to answer those questions. Ground Truth Trekking hopes to increase understanding of natural resource issues in Alaska and around the world. The Alaska resource issues portion of our website summarizes available information on many specific topics, ranging from estimates of Alaska’s coal resources, to the practical implications of perpetual mine waste storage. We’re continually expanding the information we have available, so check back often!

Machinery pulls coal out of Two Bull Ridge coal mine.
ACTIVE COAL MINING AT TWO BULL RIDGE — During a tour of the Usibelli coal mines, our guide got the van stuck in a mud hole, so we watched this scene for longer than initially planned.  Trucks came in to be filled one after the other, generally taking only minutes to pick up over a hundred tons of coal. — Get Photo

We’ve divided our Alaska resource issue pages into a number of topics, each with a summary article and a menu of the detailed articles therein. See also the Journeys portion of the website where we explore some of these areas and issues on the ground.