Alaska News Nightly: January 6, 2009

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Obama Releases New Reforms for Leasing Program
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The Obama Administration on Wednesday announced reforms to the nation’s onshore oil and gas leasing program.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says it means closer scrutiny of lease sales, more public input, and stricter environmental reviews.

State Study Estimates Cook Inlet Gas Supply
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Anchorage’s Energy Task Force heard a preliminary report from the state on Wednesday saying that the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Reserve will be able to satisfy local demands into the next decade.

Legislature Wants to Improve Energy Stability for Southcentral
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Legislature is also looking at ways to improve the energy stability of Southcentral Alaska.  House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) and Finance Co-Chair Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) have prepared what they call the Cook Inlet Recovery Act for introduction in the session that begins later this month.

Suit Filed Against Alaska Railroad and Aurora Energy
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Trustees for Alaska filed a lawsuit in federal court today alleging the Alaska Railroad and Aurora Energy are violating the Clean Water Act every time coal is loaded onto barges at Seward. The suit comes after residents of Seward have complained for years that fugitive dust from coal piles and coal falling off conveyors is polluting Resurrection Bay and the lungs of Seward residents.

Legal Fund Started to Fight for Subsistence Rights
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
A group of Southeast Native organizations has created a legal defense fund to protect what it says are subsistence rights. One of the first cases for the Alaska Subsistence Defense Fund will be the trial of State Senator Albert Kookesh (D-Angoon) and three other men charged with overfishing their subsistence sockeye permits near Angoon this summer.

FEMA Tests Alert System for First Time
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
The Federal Emergency Management Agency tested the national Emergency Alert System for the first time, today in Alaska. It used a live code from Washington DC which in event of a real emergency would allow the President to address the entire nation.

Alaskans Dominate Ski Championships
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaskans dominated the US Cross Country Ski Championships today at Kincaid park in Anchorage. Kikkan Randall took home her third national title, winning the women’s 20 kilometer classic race. And James Southam won the 30 kilometer men’s event.

Poor Trails Hampering Subsistence Hunters
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Poor trail conditions around the Lower Yukon have been hampering subsistence hunters this winter. But after a recent snow storm hunters are preparing to fill their freezers with moose meat.

Hunting Interests Appear to Win Seats on Advisory Panel
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
All eight vacant seats on the Anchorage Fish and Game Citizen Advisory Committee have been filled, and indications are that hunting interests have won the majority on the panel. According to Sherry Wright,  with state Fish and Game board support,  a record number of people turned out to vote on Tuesday night — 395 from Anchorage alone, forty from Eagle River and about one hundred from other communities in Southcentral Alaska.