Leaders at the nation’s largest oil companies will be called to testify before Congress in an investigation about climate change disinformation.
And Chevron’s CEO says that a new climate in energy policy coupled with global concern over greenhouse gases is keeping the world's energy prices high. There is more in “Five Things to Know.”
Allegations of a disinformation campaign
Executives and lobbyists for fossil fuels will be called to testify before Congress about an alleged disinformation campaign on climate change.
The House Oversight Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role of major oil companies in disseminating misleading information about fossil fuel emissions and climate science.
Leaders from Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil may testify next month, as well as lobbyists from the American Petroleum Institute and the United States Chamber of Commerce, the New York Times reported.
The American Petroleum Institute has an Alaska office, which advocates for oil production in the state, including in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In Washington, Congress is considering sweeping climate legislation by the administration to move America away from oil and gas to renewables, a campaign pledge that was the centerpiece of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“While it is unclear what the ultimate result of these hearings will be, it is clear that the fossil fuel industry is facing greater scrutiny and pressure on a number of fronts, and that the Biden Administration and its allies in Congress appear willing to mount public pressure campaigns,” the National Law Review reported Friday.
High energy prices are ‘here for a while’
Chevron CEO Mike Wirth predicts high global energy prices for gas, liquefied gas and oil will continue for the near future.
Wirth said that oil and gas producers are holding back on investing in new projects, a departure from previous upswings, according to media reports.
Government policies, pressure from shareholders and the potential climate change impact of emissions from planned projects are having a greater role in decisions, he said.
“Eventually things work out (but) eventually can be a long time,” Wirth said in a Bloomberg News interview. He predicted that strong prices will continue “for a while.”
Free credit monitoring for Alaskans
The state will offer free credit monitoring to all Alaskans after disclosing that a cyberattack at DHSS breached consumer health and personal information.
DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said that officials do not know the scope of the data intrusion. As a precaution, they are offering free credit monitoring to every Alaska resident.
The breach potentially exposed names, addresses, social security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and health information private under HIPAA.
A toll-free hotline will open Tuesday. Operators will help people sign up for the free monitoring service. The toll-free number will be posted to the DHSS website at dhss.alaska.gov.
The state will spend more than $200,000 on the credit monitoring program.
For more information on the cyberattack and what DHSS officials had to say about it, check out the News-Miner article “State officials: Cybersecurity attack exposed Alaskans’ health and personal information.”
UAF highlights security, business programs
Security is gaining importance in the growing digital economy.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks just changed the name of the School of Management to “recognize the diversity and growth” of key sectors and to stay “relevant in a changing world,” UAF leaders said.
The College of Business and Security Management is the new name approved by the University of Alaska Board of Regents.
There’s more to the change than the new name. A lot is happening at CBSM.
“The college recently added the applied management and the sport and recreation business programs. The new name also reflects the college’s robust homeland security and emergency management program,” UAF said.
“We see this as a really big deal,” said Mark Herrmann, CBSM dean. “This change reflects our academic growth over the past 47 years and offers us a chance to respond to student and employee needs, keeping us relevant in a changing world.”
Business boosters amid the Covid surge
As U.S. military forces and federal agencies adopt vaccine mandates, some Alaska companies are tightening Covid policies for their employees.
Global corporations in Alaska with updated restrictions include Alaska Air, Anthem, Cisco, Delta Airlines, TJX (which owns HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx), United Airlines, UPS and Walgreens.
Back in April, Alaska Industrial Hardware announced it would require the Covid-19 vaccine for employees. The company is owned by Bering Straits Native Corp.
The company responded early to the Covid crisis because of lessons grounded in history, including the 1918 flu pandemic that devastated local communities when there were no vaccines available.
But are the stepped up efforts enough? Alaska has been experiencing a surge in Covid cases from the highly contagious Delta variant, with more patients hospitalized this year than when the pandemic started.