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Emily Schwing brings us this four-part, month-long series on the new challenges of the Arctic Ocean's shipping channels and Alaska's communities which are impacted by the increased traffic.

Expanding Nome's port: The good, the bad, and the ugly

nome port.jpg
City of Nome
Current residents in Nome have mixed feelings about the expansion of their community's port, which promises to bring big ships, more jobs, and new problems.

Arctic Shipping Series: The new gold rush or fool’s gold?

The consequences of climate change are many. Some could bring hardship. Others point to new possibilities.Last week in our series on Arctic shipping, we looked at how coastal communities have been affected by melting sea ice, which has opened-up the Bering Sea to more vessel traffic.

For the city of Nome, which is geographically positioned to capitalize on this increase in shipping, there’s a potential goldmine.A proposed new port, with room for bigger ships, could bring prosperity in the form of new businesses, new jobs and more government investment that could benefit the region overall.

The expanded port could transform Nome into a regional hub for the shipping industry, the military, emergency responders and environmental protection services.

For others, there are feelings of déjà vu. They say the prospect of industrial-sized vessels pulling into Nome, and more of them, might spawn an economic boom, similar to what the city saw in the early 1900’s, that was neither sustainable, nor without environmental costs and cultural upheaval.

In Part 2 of her Arctic Shipping series, Emily Schwing looks at what’s at stake for those who fear history might repeat itself.

Check out part 1 of the series As Arctic shipping traffic increases, Nome grapples with its future “It’s like a highway going right past us.”

This ongoing series is made possible through a grant from the Climate Justice Resilience Fund.