Alaska News Nightly: October 18, 2007

An international oil tax expert lectures the legislature on the eve of the Special Session. Meanwhile, former legislator Vic Kohring‘s legislative corruption case moves ahead as his evidence complaints are tossed out of court. Plus, Congress hears about climate changes impacting Alaska Native communities and Galena waits for news about their proposed nuclear power plant. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Expert presents oil tax recommendations to Alaska — again
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The legislature is getting ready to gavel in it’s special session to deal with Governor Palin’s proposed rewrite of the oil and gas taxes that went into effect last year. As a background for looking at the possibilities that will arise in the next 30 days, members heard from the principal petroleum economist and negotiator who — last year — represented the Murkowski administration.

Kohring’s attack on evidence dismissed
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
A federal court judge has ruled that the government will be able to use evidence against Vic Kohring that was collected when they raided his legislative office last year.

Alaska Native impacts exposed to U.S. House climate committee
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Alaska Native leader Mike Williams today urged Congress to move soon on legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Williams is a Akiak village leader, Vice Chairman of the Alaska Intertribal Council and a board member of the National Tribal Environmental Council. He testified at a U.S. House Select Committee on Global Warming hearing about the impact climate change is having on minority and disadvantaged communities.

Alaska Territorial Guard disbanded 60 years ago today
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the disbanding of the Alaska Territorial Guard. It was a unit of about 6,600 mostly Native men and boys who were given guns and told to protect their territory from the Japanese during World War II. Only about 300 of the veterans are still alive.

State releases fish contaminant study; offers eating guidelines
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The State of Alaska this week released results of a study measuring contaminant levels in Alaskan fish. Dr. Bob Gerlach is the state veterinarian. Gerlach says the study is the culmination of work that has been ongoing since the summer of 2006. Gerlach says fish were collected through state agencies, NOAA, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, as well as from commercial and subsistence fishermen.

Greenhouse gas cap-and-trade bill introduced in the Senate
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
A bipartisan bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions and set up a credit trading system to regulate them was unveiled in the U.S. Senate today. The proposal is by Connecticut Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman and Virginia Republican John Warner. They claim that by 2050 it would reduce total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 63% below 2005 levels.

Toshiba taking Galena nuclear plant design to NRC next week
Tim Bodony, KIYU – Galena
A public meeting next Tuesday should answer some questions about how long it might take, and how much it might cost, to put a small nuclear power plant in Galena. The Japanese industrial giant Toshiba announced last month that it is ready to move forward in getting its “4-S” nuclear reactor approved for use in the U.S.

Washington county proposes hydro plant for Petersburg, Alaska
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
Two weeks after submitting an application to federal regulators, officials with Whatcom county in Washington have publically announced their interest in a private company’s proposal to develop hydro-electric power plants in Thomas Bay near Petersburg. The company’s proposal has met with a lot of opposition among Petersburg residents worried about the impacts on the popular bay, and the Petersburg city council is writing up a letter of concern for federal regulators.

Juneau now participating in regional landfill exploration
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The Juneau Assembly has taken a step toward helping start a regional landfill authority for Southeast Alaska. Assemblyman Bob Doll asked the assembly to contribute $5,000 to a regional working group that wants to develop a solid waste authority. No Assembly members objected, and a formal vote is expected October 29. Unlike other Southeast communities, Juneau has its own landfill with another quarter-century left before it fills up. So the city doesn’t need to participate. But Doll says working with other Southeast communities could help cement support for Juneau as the capital city.