Alaska News Nightly: July 29, 2009

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Suit Filed to Challenge Pebble Permits
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Trustees for Alaska filed a lawsuit in Anchorage Superior court this morning challenging all of the state’s permits that allow exploration of the proposed pebble mine in the Bristol Bay region.

Kenai Flooding, Some Residents Evacuating
Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai
Parts of the Kenai Peninsula are experiencing flooding rivers and waterways as seasonal snow and glacier melt combines with a couple days of consistent rainfall.  Residents in one area are being asked to prepare for evacuation, which some have already done.  An incident command has assembled.

State’s Largest Wildfire Getting Bigger
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The country’s biggest wildfire is getting larger by the day.  The Minto South Flats blaze, west of Nenana has burned 337 thousand acres.

Murkowski Asks Feds to Help with Troubled Senior Program
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on Wednesday asked the federal government to send its own staff to help seniors and disabled people who were shut out of the Personal Care and Medicaid Waiver assistance programs.

Senate Indian Affairs Committee May Explore Native Contracts
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wants the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hold a hearing this fall on the Native American 8 – A program.  It gives Alaska Native Corporations extra advantages so they can net high-value government contracts.

Canada and US to Explore Arctic Together
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The US and Canada are gearing up for a joint mission into ice filled Arctic waters.  Next week both nations will send an icebreaker ship into the Beaufort Sea, where they’ll meet up and map the Arctic. The data they collect may eventually help each nation lay competing claims to the resource-rich sea bed.

Alaska to Get $5 Million in Stimulus Funds for Police
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Alaska villages and cities are receiving more than $5 million in federal stimulus money for police services.

FEMA Distributes Millions to Alaska Flood Victims
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has distributed $3 million to Alaskans who lost their houses and other property in the devastating spring floods. In all, families in 22 villages on the Yukon and Kuskokwim were impacted. The deadline for applying for federal assistance is August 10th. The maximum grant is $30,300.

Biologists Say Fishing Restrictions Working
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
State biologists say fishing restrictions on the Yukon River appear to be working, and expect that enough Canada bound King salmon will make it to their spawning grounds. Canadian stocks account for about 50 percent of the Yukon River Chinook, and their numbers are low.