Alaska News Nightly: September 26, 2007

Residents of Naknek and Dillingham weigh in on a proposed state House bill that would make it impossible to develop the Pebble Mine. Plus, Alaska Native artists on the cutting edge of modern art at a special exhibit in Fairbanks. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Water restrictions proposed in Alaska House could stop Pebble Mine
Anne Hillman, KDLG – Dillingham
The second round of legislative hearings for House Bill 134 was held in Naknek yesterday. Almost 30 people from around Bristol Bay Borough and Lake and Pen Borough spoke about the bill — which would restrict water usage in the Bristol Bay watershed. It would prevent many large-scale developments, like the Pebble Mine, but it also could restrict smaller commercial enterprises in the future.

Wade will remain in jail awaiting fraud trial; remains “person of interest”
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
This morning a U.S. District Judge in Anchorage moved Joshua Wade’s trial for bank fraud from November to January. Wade is also “a person of interest” in the murder of his neighbor, Mindy Schloss.

Public interest organization probing relations between VECO and Alaska legislators
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Alaska Public Interest Research Group wants to know just how big an influence oil services company VECO had over the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) that became law last year. They also want to begin assuring Alaskans of the independence of the legislature that will meet next month to reconsider the plan.

Agrium closing fertilizer plant on Kenai Peninsula
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
Agrium Incorporated announced yesterday it will shut down its Kenai nitrogen fertilizer facility. The closure means the layoff of 100 employees. Agrium says it has to close because of a shortage of natural gas supplies.

Low income heating program warming up for 2007-2008 winter
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state has begun receiving federal money to assist low-income residents stay warm this winter. The Department of Health and Social Services today received $1.7 million for the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Last winter the state received more than $13 million for LIHEAP.

Mat-Su voters considering land use implications of Prop 1
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Mat-Su Borough voters will be weighing the pros and cons of the Private Property Protection Act when they head to the polls next Tuesday, October 2. The question on land-use regulation in the Valley appears as Proposition One on the Borough ballot and the proposed ordinance would allow real property owners to sue the Borough if any future Borough law worked to reduce property values.

Museum of the North hosting modern/traditional Alaska Native art
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Many tourists visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North to learn about Alaska’s history and heritage. This summer, they’ve also gotten to see the living tradition of Native artists on the cutting edge of modern art. Alaskans have only a few more weeks to see the special exhibit, which closes at the end of this week.