Alaska News Nightly: June 27, 2007

This is the complete story list and audio recording from today’s Alaska News Nightly, as broadcast on APRN stations statewide.

Alaska climate change may require $3 to $6 billion in public infrastructure by 2030
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) released a report today that for the first time calculates the future costs to federal, state and local governments as the climate warms and affects infrastructure around the state.

U.S. House approves amendment barring federal funding of Tongass road programs
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C. (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
A measure that would bar the use of federal funds for building new timber roads in the Tongass National Forest was approved by the U.S. House last night. The amendment passed 283-145 as part of a 2008 funding bill for the Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service. Alaska Congressman Don Young opposed the measure and proposed the State of Alaska might buy the land from the federal government.

U.S. House maintains rules on polar bear trophy importations from Canadian hunting
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C. (read by Lori Townsend, APRN)
Today, the U.S. House defeated an amendment that would have effectively barred importation of polar bear parts from sport hunting in Canada. Washington State Democrat Jay Inslee argued the Canada sport hunting exemption in the Marine Mammal Protection Act should be closed at a time when the future of polar bears is in question because of climate change and the melting of their sea ice habitat.

Critics argued that Inslee’s amendment would disrupt a program that actually helps manage and protect polar bears. Sport hunting is only allowed on healthy polar bear populations in Canada and a $1,000 fee hunters pay for a permit to import trophies to the U.S. is channeled back into an international conservation fund for polar bears. An agitated Don Young said the Inslee amendment was a bad idea based on ulterior motives.

The amendment was defeated 188 to 242.

Opening statements made in the Anderson trial
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
Opening statements were heard by a jury of eight women and four men this afternoon in the corruption trial of former state legislator Tom Anderson.

Lake Minchumina residents petition USPS to maintain postal services
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, APRN – Fairbanks
Residents of Lake Minchumina, in the Interior, are trying to convince the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) not to pull out of the community. On Tuesday, USPS officials went to Lake Minchumina to hear residents’ concerns; among them: the fear that Lake Minchumina may be the first of many rural communities in Alaska that will face post office closures.

Caribou Hills fire growing, but now 61% contained and away from occupied areas
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The Caribou Hills fire that has been burning for more than a week in the interior of the western Kenai Peninsula is now 61% contained. Meanwhile residents in the area have returned to discover the extent of the property fire damage.

Anchorage Hillside homeowners target of new campaign to keep bears out of trash
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Today officials in Anchorage announced a new effort to keep bears out of trash cans. The Fish and Game Department says between one and three bears has to be put down in the city each year when they get too comfortable searching Hillside neighborhoods for a late-night snack. Even Mayor Mark Begich admits he’s has to be increasingly vigilant.

Bethel test fishery on the Kuskokwim gathering genetic data and more
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
The salmon season has started for much of the state, and in Bethel the start of the Kuskokwim salmon runs also brings the start of a project that keeps track of all the details.