Alaska News Nightly: June 23, 2009

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Legislators Hear About Exxon-TransCanada Plans
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Legislators on Tuesday got their first hearing on the working relationship between Exxon-Mobil – with the largest gas reserves on the North Slope – and TransCanada – with its state license to develop a line taking that gas to market. This hearing indicates that a lot of discussions will take place before gas flows to market.

New Attorney General Takes on Point Hope
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
A new state attorney general is taking immediate action against a lawsuit filed by the Alaska Native village of Point Hope. Only hours after Dan Sullivan has filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Alaska, an intervention designed to protect the economic interests of the state. But Natives are crying foul.

Agreement Reached on Royalty Payments From Williams Petroleum
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Commissioner Tom Irwin announced today that Williams Alaska Petroleum, Inc. and the State of Alaska have reached an agreement over payments for royalty oil purchased by Williams between 1978 and March of 2004.

Sitka School Board Holds Final Action on Religious Promotion
Emily Schwing, KCAW – Sitka
The Sitka School Board will wait until this fall to take final action on a policy change that would allow some religious promotion in schools. Board members characterized it as a First Amendment issue.

Opponents of  “Widow Penalty” Rally in DC
Tom Banse, Northwest News Network
A different sort of immigration rally happened on the grounds of the US Capitol today. It was organized by a Portland lawyer and a cohort of unlucky widows and in-laws. They’re chipping away at what has come to be known as the “widow penalty.”

Missouri Senator to Hold Hearing on Native Contracts
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill’s office has released a “preliminary analysis” of contracts awarded to Alaska Native Corporations from 2000 to 2008.  The information was publicly available, and does not uncover anything previously not known.  McCaskill, a Democrat, is concerned that the corporations are given advantages above and beyond what’s right.  She has called for a hearing into the Alaska Native Corporation contracts next month.

Cascade Creek Presents Hydro Plant Plans
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
The latest plans for a large hydro electric power plant on the mainland north of Petersburg call for tunneling into a remote mountain in Thomas Bay north of Petersburg and siphoning water from the perched mountaintop lake for generating electricity. The private company seeking to build the project says it will sell the power initially to customers in Southeast Alaska, but eventually hopes to export the electricity. Cascade Creek presented revised plans for the hydro plant to Petersburg residents last week.

Fairbanks Ball Club Celebrating 50th Anniversary
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Alaska Gold Panners are celebrating their 50thAnniversary this summer. The baseball team’s season highlight, the annual Midnight Sun Game, was played during a weekend of Solstice events in Fairbanks.