Alaska News Nightly: June 19, 2008

The missing Denali hikers relax with their families following their rescue.  Also, TransCanada tries to put legislators’ concerns to rest, as Alaskans of all stripes weigh in on AGIA. Plus, FERC orders TAPS to refund money to the state. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Lost Denali hikers decompress after rescue
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The National Park Service describes backpackers Abby Flantz and Erica Nelson as “grinning ear to ear” after being re-united with family members yesterday.  The pair of lower 48 seasonal workers were rescued from the wilderness of Denali National Park after being 5 days over due from an overnight backpacking trip.

TransCanada addresses legislative doubts

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
TransCanada-Alaska today took the opportunity to respond to doubts that have arisen at legislative hearings in Anchorage this week. Lawmakers are considering whether to give the company the state’s license to begin development of a North Slope gas line.

Alaskans weigh in on AGIA
Lori Townsned, APRN – Anchorage
Last night the citizens of Alaska had a chance to weigh in on the AGIA proposal. Only 16 people signed up to testify, and the majority of them were vehemently opposed to the plan.

FERC orders TAPS to pay state refund

Associated Press
Alaska could be getting an oil revenue boost. Federal regulators today ruled that owners of the 800-mile, trans-Alaska pipeline system overcharged for shipping oil in 2005 and 2006. Those higher tariffs meant less money for the state. FERC has ordered pipeline owners BP,
ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil to pay a “limited refund.”

Gary Stevens for Senate President?
Jay Barrett, KMXT – Kodiak
The announcement by Senate President Lyda Green that she will not seek re-election has given rise to talk that Kodiak’s Gary Stevens might be in line to become the new leader of the Senate Majority.

Turning natural methane seeps into useable energy

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A project on the North Slope is offering promise as a potential source for localized energy supplies. Katey Walter, an assistant professor at UAF, has been studying natural methane seeps on the North Slope.  She says farmers in the Netherlands have harnessed methane from their cow yard manure to power and heat their farm homes for decades.

Chena Hots Springs to get a multi-million dollar facelift

Dan Bross, KUAC – Anchorage
A major upgrade of Chena Hot Springs Resort will get underway this summer.  The Resort plans a new 5 million dollar pool facility.  Chena Hot Springs owner Bernie Karl says the complex will be built to the highest green construction standards.

Cook Inlet king run disappointing

Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Poor king salmon returns in Cook Inlet have forced closure of some sport and commercial fisheries starting this weekend.   The closures  highlight late king  salmon runs all over Southcentral Alaska, and point to concerns regarding salmon runs on the West Coast in general.

Permit granted for construction of Lynn Canal highway

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers issued a permit Wednesday that allows the discharge of fill material into US waters, including forested wetlands, streams, and deep water habitat, to construct the road.

Summer comes early this year
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The summer solstice comes tomorrow at 3:59 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time. That’s 11:59 p.m. Universal Time, and the US Naval Observatory says it’s the first time since 1896 that the summer solstice has landed on June 20th.