Alaska News Nightly: January 31, 2008

Tonight in Alaska news… Alaska Natives and environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against Chukchi leases. Also, candidates for congressional offices have to file fundraising reports with the FCC. And preparing for Super Tuesday and…the 25th Yukon Quest. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

Individual news stories are posted in the Alaska News category and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via e-mail, podcast and RSS.

Opponents of Chukchi leases file suit in federal court

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska Natives and environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Juneau. They hope the court will stop a proposed oil and gas lease sale slated for next Wednesday. The Minerals Management Service, the MMS, plans to offer nearly 30,000,000 acres in the Chukchi sea for oil and gas exploration and drilling.

Candidates reveal how much they’ve raised
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Candidates for congressional offices have to file their fundraising reports for the 4th quarter of 2007 with the Federal Elections Commission by the end of today.

Alaskans prepare for Super Tuesday
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Alaskans will weigh in on the United States Presidential race next week. Like 22 other states in the Country, Alaska is selecting party delegates on February 5th, known as Super Tuesday, for the unprecedented number of delegates up for grabs. With tight races in the both the Democratic and Republican parties, Alaskans will have a unique opportunity to determine the outcome of the race.

House discusses what rules should define a conflict of interest
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A House of Representatives committee today opened consideration of one of several bills that would allow members to abstain from voting on issues where they have conflicts of interest.

Knik Arm ferry will be first of its kind
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Palmer
Senator Ted Stevens got $20,000,000 appropriated for it, the Navy wants to study it, and the Matanuska Susitna Borough expects to reap economic benefits from its use. Some call it a Super Ferry, but its actually the first E-craft, and it is coming soon to a port in Southcentral Alaska.

House redefines compassionate gifts

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The House voted without opposition today for a bill that would lift the limit on gifts to legislators for what are called “compassionate gifts.” The practice currently carries a $250 limit. The fast pace on the bill is to accommodate Nome representative Richard Foster’s need for a kidney transplant – and legislative staffer Sue Stancliff willingness to donate one of her kidneys. The issue arose when the ethics issue was brought into the situation.

Mushers prepare for 25th Yukon Quest

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Officials and volunteers are making final preparations in anticipation of the February 9th start of the 25th running of Yukon Quest international sled dog race.