Alaska News Nightly: March 13, 2008

Senator Stevens and Senator Murkowski sponsor an ANWR drilling bill in the US senate. Also, Governor Palin tries to strike a deal with the House. And the top 31 Iditarod teams are safely into Nome – 49 are still on the trail. Plus, skiing the Stikine. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Stevens and Murkowski push ANWR one more time

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Alaska’s US senators are using record high oil prices to try to revive interest in opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration and development. Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens introduced a new ANWR bill today. There’s not much different in the provisions covering what to explore and how. But what is new is a provision that would set the whole process in motion when the price of oil hits $125 a barrel for five consecutive days.

Governor Palin negotiates with House over budget

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Palin today met with House members to try to avoid a showdown over nearly $70,000,000  in capital projects that she vetoed out of last year’s budget. In an informal session in the speaker’s office, Palin offered to give up part of her proposals in the regular budget in exchange for the House’s removal of the contentious projects from the supplemental budget.

Agrium will not use coal gasification in Nikiski

Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
Agrium incorporated announced today that the company is not moving forward with plans to use coal gasification technology to reopen their plant in Nikiski.

Army wounded being treated at Elmendorf
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Wounded Iraq war Army personnel based at Fort Richardson are receiving care at the Elmendorf Air Force Base hospital so they can be close to home and family during their recovery. But the joint care arrangement has created a shortage of medical specialists at the hospital. Senator Ted Stevens raised the issue with Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne at a defense budget hearing yesterday in Washington, DC.

Education increases small in year one
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg
The education funding bill state lawmakers passed this month will significantly boost K to 12 education in Alaska over the next 5 years. But educators say it will mean a relatively small increase for schools this coming year.

Top 31 Iditarod teams now into Nome

Libby Casey, KUAC – Nome
31 teams have made it to Nome in the Iditarod. All finishers take home $1,049 for their accomplishment, but the top thirty earn additional prize money. Number 30 is Melissa Owens, who arrived in Nome at 11:21 this morning. Owens lives in Nome, and was welcomed by a huge hometown crowd who turned out to cheer her on.

Skiing the Stikine

Lisa Phu, KSTK – Wrangell
About a decade ago, a Wrangell resident hatched a plan to ski the150 miles of frozen Stikine river from Canada back to town. With two friends, the epic journey was recently completed in fifteen days.