Former Alaska Attorney General leads U.S. Interior office with focus on Arctic and ‘adaptation’

The U.S. Department of Interior building in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes has a new job at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C.

Renkes is listed on the Interior Department’s website as the director of the Office of Policy Analysis, signaling a new direction for him and for that office.

Resigned following controversy in 2005
Former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes now works at the U.S. Interior Department. (State of Alaska website)

Renkes was attorney general under then-Gov. Frank Murkowski. He resigned in 2005 after it emerged that he had negotiated a state coal deal that would’ve benefited a company he was invested in. Renkes helped craft a state agreement to sell processed coal to Taiwan, despite owning more than $100,000 of stock in the company with the patent on the technology to process the coal.

An independent investigator later said the investment was insignificant and did not amount to an ethics violation.

Predecessor opposed Trump administration

In his new position, Renkes leads an office at Interior that deals with Arctic issues, invasive species and what the Trump administration calls “adaptation.” In the previous administration, that program was called “climate change adaptation.”

The previous director of the office was Joel Clement. Clement contends he was removed in retaliation for his work helping Alaska Native villages adapt to climate change.

Related stories from around the  North:

Canada: Study in Northern Quebec to assess impact of climate change on Inuit’s food, CBC News

Finland: Finnish president demands Arctic Summit to stop dangerous black carbon emissions, Yle News

Norway: New building to help boost cooperation for Arctic research center in Northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s resources minister to open new Arctic office, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Feature Interview: Is Arctic climate research missing the big picture?, Eye on the Arctic

United States: Tara Sweeney becomes first Indigenous Alaskan to head U.S. Indian Affairs, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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