Alaska News Nightly: October 19, 2007

The legislature’s special session enters its second day and lawmakers consider whether they have to end in vote to satisfy the voters. Meanwhile, Arctic researchers and Icelanders look at Alaska’s geothermal energy potential. Plus, GCI buys out rural telecom services in the Y-K delta at the same time a web site is launched to encourage more buying — of Alaskan goods. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Will special session end in a definitive oil tax vote?
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Legislators are not yet in agreement over whether to end the special session on oil taxes by coming to some sort of definitive decision on the future of oil taxes in the state.

Arctic energy meeting focused on climate, fossil fuels, geothermal
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Arctic Energy Summit’s Technology conference just wrapped up in Anchorage yesterday. Part of the International Polar Year activities, the conference brought together representatives from 14 nations to share ideas about extractive and renewable energy concepts. Mead Treadwell, chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, says the conference highlighted the problem for Arctic nations who are feeling the brunt of climate change, yet are dependent on fossil fuel as a large part of their cash flow.

Iceland’s geothermal experience may translate to Alaska
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Iceland’s president was in Alaska this week to share the story of how his country has harnessed the earth’s steam and water for power and heat. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson spoke about geothermal at the Arctic Energy Summit in Anchorage. KUAC’s Libby Casey is in Iceland and reports from Reykjavik that some in Iceland believe there’s major geothermal potential in Alaska.

House working on revised mining reform legislation
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Yesterday the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee started marking up legislation that would make big reforms in hard rock mining on federal lands. The bill is by West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall, a longtime critic of mining laws that stretch back to President Ulysses Grant’s administration in the 1870s. He wants to charge royalties for the first time, end the practice of selling mining claims at $2.50 to $5.00 an acre, and impose tough environmental and reclamation standards on mining operations.

Anchorage Police nets nearly $300,000 for Internet crimes enforcement
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
The Anchorage Police Department has just received a nearly $300,000 federal grant to use for investigations into Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC).

GCI buys UU in YK
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
GCI is buying United Utilities, Inc. and all of their subsidiary companies, such as Unicom and United KUC. GCI is the largest telecommunications company in Alaska, and if the deal is approved it will become the sole provider of telecommunications, cable and internet access in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. launches to promote in-state spending
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
A new website is hoping to keep millions of Alaskan dollars within the state’s economy. was launched yesterday. Director Stella Josephine says it’s intended to promote Alaskan businesses and to make it easier for Alaskan consumers to keep their cash right here in the state.