Alaska News Nightly: July 24, 2008

A brown bear mauls a woman on the Kenai. Plus, the governor’s Resource Rebate bill gets hard look from the Senate Finance committee, and not everyone is happy with the state’s plan to take over water-quality oversight from the Feds.  Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Bear mauls woman near Kenai Princess Lodge

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
State troopers are reporting that last night a  911 call was received from the Kenai Princess Lodge stating employee Abby Sisk, 21, of Odgen, Utah, was walking on a trail when she was attacked by a brown bear. Lodge visitor, Wasilla resident Robert VinZant, heard the attack, looked out and saw the bear standing on top of Sisk with her head in its jaws. He managed to chase the bear off. The bear is described as a very large male brown bear standing 7-8 feet tall and between 500-800 pounds. Sisk suffered severe facial and head lacerations and was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.

Resource Rebate bill gets hard look from Senate committee
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Resource Rebate bill the governor gave the special session ran into some problems today as the Senate Finance Committee began its review of the program that would give all Alaskans a one-time twelve hundred dollar check.

Not everyone is happy with state plan to take over water-quality

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
A state plan to take over a major federal water-quality program is drawing mixed reviews. Several industry groups support the change in managing the Clean Water Act’s wastewater discharge program. But some environmental activists question whether it will give industry too much leeway.

Public weighs in on state application to EPA

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Public comment on the state’s  application was held in Anchorage last night. About 17 people signed up to testify, all but 2 spoke against the transfer from the EPA to the state.  Although most of the speakers were representing Native communities or organizations, most questioned the timing of a hearing on an issue important to tribes being held during the height of subsistence gathering.

AKPIRG weighs in on AGIA
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Alaska Public Interest Research Group, AKPRIG,  has released a report on the Alaska Gas line Inducement Act or AGIA.  The report by independent industry analyst Richard Fineberg does not take sides on pipe line projects, but says AGIA provides no assurance for the state of a fair return on its natural gas.  Fineberg says, as lease holders of the gas, North Slope producers will be in a position of control even if Trans Canada’s project wins state support.

Golden Valley Electric Association reconsiders Healy Clean Coal Plant

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Golden Valley Electric Association officials have changed their mind about the Healy Clean Coal Plant.  In a letter to members, the utility says it wants to buy the long-idled state-owned facility.  Golden Valley had a contract with the Alaska Industrial and Export Authority or AIDA to do so back in 2000, but backed out when the plant failed a performance evaluation.  Utility spokeswoman Corrine Bradish says the high cost of oil is making the Clean Coal plant look better now.  She says it’s all about the economics.

UAA researchers unveil new airport landing lights

Eli Menaker, APRN – Anchorage
Researchers at UAA have devised a safer, and more energy efficient way to guide planes in rural Alaska.

Short-tailed Albatross chicks get a fresh chance away from home
Jessica Cochran, APRN – Anchorage
This spring, ten short-tailed albatross chicks were kidnapped from their nest on a remote Japanese island, then sent by helicopter 300 miles away to a new home. There, they were reared by humans, wielding Cuisinarts and caulking guns. The ambitious project to trans-locate the endangered birds began more than ten years ago, when a fishing boat off Alaska caught one on a long line.

Kodiak gets update on new Police station and Jail

Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
Earlier this week the Kodiak City Council got an update on plans for the new Police Station and Jail project.