Alaska News Nightly: January 25, 2008

Today in Alaska news, Alaska’s congressional delegation files a brief in support of Exxon Valdez plaintiffs, while Senator Ted Stevens weighs in on the economic stimulus proposal. Meanwhile, the new Tongass management plan could open forest to more development. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Alaska Congressional delegation files brief on Exxon Valdez reopener
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young today filed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in support of the Exxon Valdez plaintiffs.

Senator Stevens weighs in on economic stimulus proposal
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Yesterday, the White House and U-S House leaders announced an economic stimulus plan. Senator Ted Stevens gave his evaluation of the proposal today.

US economic challenges could harm Yukon Territory mining
Al Foster, CBC – Whitehorse
International financial markets continue to fluctuate as questions about the US economy persist. The instability has raised serious questions about what it will mean for mining in the Yukon. Exploration in the territory has been reaching record levels. But as financial markets drop, so do commodity prices and that could put exploration activity in jeopardy.

New Tongass management plan could open forest to more development
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Tongass National Forest’s new management plan could lead to more logging and mining in Southeast Alaska. But it also sets aside more old-growth forest, wildlife corridors and karst areas for protection.

New walrus tagging research sheds light on reproductive failure
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
More details are coming out about the reproductive failure of Walruses in the Chukchi Sea last fall. A few of the animals were tracked by satellite tags as the sea ice pulled back farther than anyone had ever seen before. Those tags tell just a small part of the story of how the female Walruses tried to find food and care for their young.

State considers how to spend cruise ship head tax
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The state collected more than $46 million from cruise ship passengers last summer as a result of the Head Tax initiative voters passed in 2006. And now the Department of Revenue is looking for direction from the legislature on how to spend it.

Money for new Kodiak missle launch pad said to be in Governor’s proposed budget
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
A representative from the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation recently told the borough assembly in Kodiak that there is more than $17 million in the governor’s proposed budget for a new launch pad at Narrow Cape.

Diesel spill in Selawik
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
As much as 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from a tank earlier this week in the Alaska Native village of Selawik – about 75 miles east of Kotzebue.

All humbacks are not alike
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
In December, the Japanese government agreed not to target humpback whales during its annual whale hunt now under way off Antarctica. Alaska’s humpbacks don’t head that far south – most of them are in Hawaii this time of year, where they don’t have to worry about avoiding hunters. There’s another big difference between Alaska’s humpback whales and humpbacks in other parts of the world.