Alaska News Nightly: September 8, 2008

With Congress back at work this week, energy is at the top of the agenda. Plus, high fuel prices put a dent in summer fun for Alaskans who boat or fly. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Congress back in DC, debating oil drilling and more energy matters in short session
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Congress is back at work in the nation’s capital, after the long August recess and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The House and Senate only have a few weeks to tackle a slew of issues before members head home again to campaign and prepare for November’s election. At the top of the agenda is energy, but Congress is a long way from agreement on an energy plan.

Could a plastic pipe deliver natural gas over some Alaska runs?
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA) is looking into using plastic pipe for the last portion of a proposed pipeline from Cook Inlet to the Fairbanks area.

Young grows tiny lead over Parnell, vote counting continues
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
With more absentee ballots yet to be counted, Congressman Don Young’s lead over Sean Parnell has grown to 239 votes for the Republican nomination to the U.S. House.

High fuel prices no fun for recreational pilots and boaters, great for bike sellers
Weld Royal, KTOO – Juneau
High fuel prices mean pain for Alaskans who fly or boat for fun. But Weld Royal found the big price at the pump may be helping another group: sellers of bicycles. Her story is part of a CoastAlaska series on how Southeast residents are adapting to fuel costs.

$300 million in grants await renewable energy proposals
Adam Kane, KDLG – Dillingham
Alaskan communities feeling the squeeze from power costs can now apply for a renewable energy grant from the Alaska Energy Authority.

Mat-Su preparing citizens for major transportation projects
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Matanuska Susitna Borough officials are looking forward to significant changes in transportation during the next decade. The Borough is planning a Transportation Fair later this month to make information on a wide variety of projects available to the public.

Appraisal and review processes slowing Yukon Flats land exchange
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
It will be another year before a decision is issued on the Yukon Flats land exchange. The controversial deal between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and interior regional native corporation Doyon to trade lands for development and protection has already been in the works four years.

Sitka residents trying out ‘FFFF’ as transportation alternative
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
Sitkans who rode their bikes, walked, carpooled or used city transportation to get to work last Friday can count themselves in as participants of the first Freedom from Fossil Fuel Fridays, or FFFF.

Soldotna Rotary helping students integrate digital photography into education
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The Soldotna Rotary Club is teaming up with the Kenai Peninsula Borough school district to help students at a few Soldotna area schools learn about digital photography.