Alaska News Nightly: April 8, 2008

BP and ConocoPhillips announce plans to build a natural gas pipeline to the lower 48. Reaction from politicians both in Juneau and  Washington, DC is positive.  Plus, the Minerals Management Service announces plans for EIS on offshore leases in the Aleutians and Bristol Bay. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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BP, ConocoPhillips plan joint gas pipeline
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
Oil giants BP and ConocoPhillips announced plans today to build a multi-billion dollar pipeline to move natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to markets in the lower48.

BP/Conoco announcement takes state capitol by storm

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
As soon as word about the BP-Conoco-Philips plan was released, the project overwhelmed all other talk at the capitol today (Tuesday). Representatives of the two companies began meeting early this morning to provide more information on the plan.

Alaska delegation welcome gasline announcement
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Ted Stevens, Lisa Murkowski and Don Young came out in support of the BP/ConocoPhillips plan. They plan to work to get it through the federal regulatory process.

Berkowitz leads Democratic candidates for the US House in fundraising
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Democrat Ethan Berkowitz had a strong 1st quarter fundraising effort in his run for Republican Congressman Don Young’s seat in the U-S House of Representatives. A release put out by his campaign today says he raised more than 275-thousand dollars from nearly a thousand contributors. Among the other major Democratic challengers, Diane Benson reportedly raised between 45 and 48-thousand dollars, and Jake Metcalfe has not said what he raised.

MMS announces plans for EIS on Bristol Bay leases

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Minerals Management Service today announced they’re moving forward with an environmental impact statement for leasing potential as a next step in the 5 year plan for the North Aleutian basin/Bristol bay region.  This comes on the same day that areas of Bristol Bay were defined as critical habitat for dwindling numbers of North Pacific Right Whales. Conservation groups were quick to denounce the advance of off shore leasing activity in the area.

Protecting the genetic integrity of Alaska’s flora
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Green thumbs everywhere are itching to dig into the garden. Most of us buy seeds in little packets from the store and these are usually produced by hybrid plants. But the U. S. Department of Agriculture wants to protect the genetic integrity of some food producing plants, so its National Genetic Resources Program collects and preserves what is called germplasm- the stuff that’s necessary to regenerate a plant. And a group of researchers here is making sure that some of Alaska’s common flora.. like rhubarb.. are  being preserved for research into  sub-arctic farming of the future

Anchorage school district gets $1 million grant to teach history

Len Anderson, APRN – Anchorage
The US Department of Education has awarded the Anchorage School District nearly one-million dollars to improve American History teaching.  The district will use the grant to help 5th through 12th grade teachers across the state

Haines post office faces a changing future
John Hunt, KHNS – Haines
The Haines Post Office has been operating short-handed since early this year. The drop in staffing represents a nationwide shift toward electronic communication.

ET scientist vists Barrow
Earl Finkler, KBRW- Barrow
The residents of Barrow recently had a visit from the father of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Dr. Frank Drake. For commentator Earl Finkler, it was an inspiring encounter.