Alaska News Nightly: February 12, 2009

The state Department of Law finds no evidence of price gouging in Alaska fuel markets.  Also, the city of Unalaska plans to sue the federal government over military contamination.  And Barrow City mayor Michael Stotts resigns.   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.

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State says no evidence of price gouging in fuel markets
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Department of Law today  released the results of an investigation that found no indication of collusion or other illegal
pricing activity in the gasoline and heating fuel markets in the state.  Instead, the report by Assistant Attorney General Ed Sniffen
determined that the volatility in rising prices last year — and the slow price decline at the end of the year — could be explained by
market-driven factors.

Unalaska to sue government over military contamination

Anne Hillman,  KUCB – Unalaska
The city of Unalaska, a former military base during World War II, plans to sue the federal government for 4 million dollars – the cost
to clean up contaminants left at an old military site.

Anchorage Mayor Claman targets fire department for cuts
Annie Feidt, APRN –
Anchorage acting mayor Matt Claman is targeting the city’s fire department in a second round of budget cuts.  Claman announced morethan three million dollars in cost reductions today. The bulk of those savings comes from 12 vacant firefighter and fire
command positions that will remain unfilled.

FERC encourages TransCanada to start federal permitting process
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington, DC
The Acting Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is encouraging TransCanada to start the federal permitting process for an Alaska natural gas pipeline.   TransCanada has the state’s backing for building a gas line from the North Slope, but the competing project by BP and ConocoPhillips, the Denali Project, already started the federal regulatory steps last summer.

Barrow city mayor Stotts resigns

Janelle Everett, KBRW – Barrow
Barrow city mayor Michael Stotts announced his resignation from office yesterday at the request of the Barrow city council. Mayor Stotts had been the target of an investigation into charges he used the city’s credit card for his personal use and that he exhibited inappropriate behavior at a conference last fall.

Soldier found dead at Ft Richardson
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A Fort Richardson Soldier was found dead in his unit’s motor pool building Sunday evening. Sergeant Naquan Reinaldo Williams, Jr., was found by his platoon sergeant. An autopsy is being performed by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Next of kin have been notified.

President Obama’s pick for Science Adviser highlights the Arctic

Libby Casey, APRN – Anchorage
President Obama’s pick to be his Science Adviser in the White House says the Arctic should be more of a priority.  Dr. John Holdren testified today before the Senate Commerce Committee as part of his confirmation process.

Cruise industry looks to Ketchikan business community for support.

Deanna Garrison, KRBD – Ketchikan
The cruise industry is looking to the Ketchikan business community for support of its efforts to lobby the state legislature. Cruise lines are asking lawmakers to scale back wastewater discharge restrictions approved by voters three years

Local oysters suspected in norovirus outbreak in Sitka
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, KCAW – Sitka
Locally grown oysters are suspected as the source of an acute gastrointestinal outbreak in Sitka. 25 people have been identified with the gastrointestinal illness and four of the patients have tested positive for norovirus infection. Weld Royal, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says oysters from Whiting Harbor aquafarms LLC appear to be the source of the outbreak.