Alaska News Nightly: June 5, 2008

Rats are considered an invasive species in Alaska and now the state is working with coastal communites to keep the animals out. Plus, rising fuel prices are convincing commercial fishermen to change their practices and even downsize their boats. 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.

US House votes against continued payments to logging communities
Joel Southern, APRN – Anchorage
A program that provides payments to rural counties and boroughs affected by reduced logging in national forests expires at the end of this month. But today, the U.S. House voted down a bill that would have continued the program.

You dirty rats!
Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
The state is taking its campaign to cut down on Alaska’s rat population to coastal communities.

Legislators hear from an AGIA skeptic
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The legislature heard today from their third and final consultant scheduled to make a presentation on the gas line legislation during the special session.

Halibut charter operators take the one-fish bag limit to court
Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
The Charter Halibut Task Force this week filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. seeking a both temporary restraining order and a preliminary block of the one fish halibut bag limit for charter clients fishing in Southeast Alaska.

High gas price a barb for Alaskan fishermen
Mary Donaldson, KMXT – Kodiak
Rising gas prices are having a dramatic effect on Alaska’s fishermen.

New traffic in the Arctic Ocean raise safety concerns
Patricia Bell, CBC – Edmonton, AB
A predicted increase in ship activity in the Arctic Ocean is well underway. Cruise ships are doing more tours this year, and the U.S. Coast Guard continues to examine how to establish a presence on the Chukchi Sea side of the Arctic Ocean.

Samuels says he will not run again
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels says he will not run for re-election this year. He says he will become Vice President of external affairs for Holland-America cruise lines.

Forest Service touts restoration logging
Melissa Marconi-Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka
The Forest Service recently wrapped up a log cabin construction project in Sitka that could represent a shift in how the agency manages the Tongass. With a dwindling timber economy, the Sitka Ranger District is looking for new ways to maximize the forest’s resources, while supporting fish and wildlife.