Alaska News Nightly: October 17, 2008

Senator Ted Stevens gets grilled by prosecutors at his trial in Washington, DC.  Plus, NOAA lists Cook Inlet Belugas as endangered. And the Forest Service is moving forward with plans for timber sale near Wrangell. Those stories and more tonight on Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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NOAA lists Cook Inlet Belugas as endangered
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage and Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA has determined that the Cook Inlet beluga should be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The ESA listing means federal agencies that permit or fund activities such as oil, gas and coal development within the belugas habitat will have to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service before proceeding.

Ted Stevens grilled during cross examination
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
Senator Ted Stevens faced intense and critical cross examination today in court.  Alaska’s senior senator is on trial for charges of lying about gifts on his financial disclosure forms.  He chose to testify on his own behalf, which opened him up to answering the government’s questions on the witness stand.

Trying to regulate fishing in the arctic
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
If climate change results in opening up the Arctic Ocean to shipping, the Arctic could become industrialized, and this is something some environmentalists worry about. Oceana, an international ocean conservation organization, is working to put the Far North seas off limits to fishing.

Kodiak primitive weapon hunters prepare for special deer season
Casey Kelly, KMXT – Kodiak
Kodiak’s popular road system deer hunt comes to a close at the end of the month. But those hunters who use primitive weapons will have an extra two weeks to take a deer.

Federal judge may have to decide whether the Forest Service broke law in Glen Ith affair
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK- Petersburg
A federal judge may have to decide whether the forest service acted illegally when it investigated and suspended a whistleblower employee on the Tongass national forest. The employee passed away earlier this year, but his widow wants some answers about the agency’s actions.

Forest Service moves forward on plans for timber sale near Wrangell
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Forest Service is moving ahead with plans to sell about a thousand acres of timber on an island near Wrangell. A new sale will be combined with a previous offering that attracted no bids.  Officials say pairing the sales will make logging more economic. But environmental groups say it requires too large of a federal subsidy.