Alaska News Nightly: May 16, 2008

While the Bureau of Land Management has announced a leasing plan for the northeastern section of the NPRA, the Marine Mineral Service wants to lease more than 5 million acres in Bristol Bay. Plus, the salmon run on the Copper River is off to a disappointing start. 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.

ANWR still dead on arrival on Capitol Hill

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
The Alaska delegation and other ANWR drilling supporters were rebuffed twice in Congress
this week. On Tuesday, a Republican energy plan with ANWR drilling as one of its centerpieces fell way short of getting the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. And yesterday, Republicans failed in a move on the House floor to tell lawmakers negotiating a 2009 budget plan that they should include ANWRleasing revenues.

BLM announces leasing plan for northeastern NPRA

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Bureau of Land Management today announced their leasing plan for the Northeastern portion of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska or NPRA. Although the land is a designated energy reserve, it also contains wetlands and lakes that provide habitat for migratory birds, caribou and is a source of subsistence hunting for North Slope Inupiaq. The BLM’s decision will set aside 219,000 acres that comprise Teshekpuk lake and its islands and defer leasing on an additional 430,000 acres.

MMS wants to lease 5 million acres in Bristol Bay

Charles Homans, KIAL – Unalaska
In 2011, the Minerals Management Service hopes to put a 5.6 million acre area of Bristol Bay out to bid for oil and gas drilling. This week, the agency began holding meetings around the state about the project, including one Thursday in Unalaska.

Slow start on the Copper River
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
The Copper River salmon season got off to a bleak start yesterday morning. Numbers are way down from last year

Tongass plan under appeal

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
More than a dozen groups and communities are appealing the latest version of the Tongass National Forest’s land-management plan. Southeast cities, business groups and environmental organizations filed their objections by yesterday’s deadline.

Sponsors ask for removal of clean-water initiative

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The sponsors of one of the two so-called “clean-water” ballot initiatives have asked that their measure be removed from public consideration. In a letter to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell this morning attorney Jeff Feldman said the sponsors of Ballot Measure One intend to terminate their efforts to get voter support in this year’selection.

Growth of Unalaska’s wild-horse herd causes call for culling

Ann Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
Wild horses have roamed the populated side of Unalaska Island in the Aleutians for 11 years. A local organization says the growing herd is damaging the ecosystem and is taking steps to reduce the size of the
herd. But some community members don’t want the herd touched.

Graduating student in Bethel has not missed a day in 12 years
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Bethel High School’s class of 2008 received their diplomas this afternoon. The event is a culmination of 12 years of school and this year’s class has one graduate who has never missed a day.