“I see that a lot of our role is to make the DC policies actually apply and work in Alaska, because the worlds are so different,” Arctic Energy Office Advisor Givey Kochanowski said.
Western Alaska is a long way from Washington D.C., and residents are easily forgotten in federal decisions that impact them. Kochanowski said his department, which he nicknamed the “mobile office,” visits villages to engage with local residents and hear what issues they are facing. Kochanowski, who took to the airwaves while in Nome, said he and his colleagues advocate for the Arctic concerning matters of energy, science and national security.
In the Bering Straits region, there are several important projects on the ‘mobile office’ agenda. As Nome’s Arctic Deep Draft Port project progresses, with increased federal funding, Kochanowski and his colleagues can offer support to the local team in Nome. The Arctic Energy Office is also developing alternative energy in the region, such at Pilgrim Hot Springs, where geothermal energy is being harnessed. In the village of Shungnak, a solar energy project they spearheaded saves $10,000 a month. The office also keeps an eye on local input about balancing the economic and environmental impacts of a major mining project in discussion.
Image at top: Davis Hovey and Givey Kochanowski discuss arctic energy projects on the radio. Photo by KJ McElwee, KNOM (2023).