Alaska News Nightly: October 19, 2009

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Shell Gets White House Approval to Drill in Beaufort
Libby Casy, APRN – Anchorage
The Obama Administration has approved a drilling plan by Shell Oil in the Beaufort Sea – with conditions.  The federal Minerals Management Service announced on Monday it will let Shell drill two sites in Camden Bay, west of the village of Kaktovik.  The company bought lease sales to the area in 2005 and 2007. Minerals Management Service Regional Director for Alaska, John Goll says Shell has the green light to explore for oil and gas – if it meets certain conditions.

Public Gets Access to Developing State Energy Plan
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Anchorage
The leaders of the state Senate Resources Committee on Monday opened a way for the public to participate in developing a statewide energy plan.

Anchorage Wants Consumers to Lower Thermostats
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
This week the municipality of Anchorage wants residents to lower their thermostats and take other energy saving measures…well, at least for two hours.

ENSTAR Lowers Gas Bill
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
ENSTAR Natural Gas Company on Monday announced a 16 percent decrease in gas costs for 2010. The average Southcentral Alaska residential customer will see a decrease of $24 per month on their ENSTAR bill, beginning in January 2010.

NOAA Says Disaster Analysis Will Wake Another Month
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – says its analysis of the state’s request for disaster assistance could be done in about another month.

Medical Marijuana Gets New Guidelines
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Medical marijuana users will not be targets of arrest under new policy guidelines made public on Monday by the Obama administration.

Frank Murkowski Warns of Low Oil Supplies
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Former Governor Frank Murkowski has begun a brief tour of the state to talk about what he sees as a pending crisis in the state’s reliance on oil revenue – and its relationship with gas development.    He says oil production – and the use of the TransAlaska Pipeline — is dropping to dangerously low quantities.

A First: Alaska Native Female Promoted to Sergeant Major
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A young Alaska Native woman from the Nome area has achieved a military rank within the Alaska Army National Guard that has never before been held by an Alaska Native female.

It’s a Bull Moose…No a Cow…
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
On a recent hunting trip near Kake, a man shot a moose with a spike antler. On closer examination, he discovered the animal was a female. The hunter brought the moose’s head to Petersburg and met with fish and game wildlife biologist Rich Lowell.