Alaska News Nightly: March 17, 2010

Photo By Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Fan favorite DeeDee Jonrowe arrives in Nome Wednesday.

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Obama Administration Opposed to Sealaska Land Proposal
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The Obama Administration weighed in Wednesday on the controversial Sealaska lands bill, signaling that the White House does not support it.  The legislation would allow Sealaska Native Corporation to go outside of the original Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act lands for about 85,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest. But on Wednesday at a Congressional hearing in Washington, the US Department of Agriculture’s Deputy Undersecretary for Forestry, Jay Jensen, said while the Department wants to see Sealaska get its lands due under ANCSA, USDA has concerns about this plan.

Climate Change Could be Affecting Human Health in Alaska
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage and Kristin Spack, KSKA – Anchorage
The story of climate change reshaping our natural environment is well known. But the warming planet has also had dramatic impacts on human health in Alaska and around the world. Health experts in the state addressed the topic at a forum Tuesday in Anchorage sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation.

Nome Greets More Mushers
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Nome’s fire siren blared at intervals through Tuesday night, announcing incoming mushers two miles out of town.  The Iditarod’s elite top ten dog drivers completed their races by the wee hours of  Wednesday morning as the second wave of  early finishers continued through the day.

Finance Reform Bill Gets Chilly Reception in Juneau
Dave Donalson, APRN – Juneau
A bill requiring disclosure of corporations or unions that contribute to political campaigns got a chilly reception in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday – as Chairman Jay Ramras (R-Fairbanks) challenged elements of the bill concerning presentation of sponsors to the public.

Timber Sale Lawsuit Heads to 9th Circuit Court
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Three environmental groups are taking their case against a Prince of Wales Island timber sale to a higher court. They’re seeking an injunction to stop logging they say will hurt wolves, deer and salmon. The timber industry says the sale will keep Southeast’s last mid-sized mill in business. And the Forest Service says tree-cutting near Coffman Cove will preserve enough wildlife habitat.

House Passes Statewide Energy Policy
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The House on Wednesday passed a bill setting up a statewide energy policy. Written by the Energy Committee after lengthy statewide hearings around the state last summer and fall, the bill sets goals for the state to meet in dealing with a hoped-for change from petroleum to renewable and alternative energy supplies – and to conserve energy at all levels.

Fairbanks Gets Briefed on North Slope Gas
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A plan for trucking North Slope natural gas to Fairbanks was laid out for the public at meetings in Fairbanks on Wednesday.  The publically owned Alaska Gas Line Port Authority wants to sell bonds to buy the private utility Fairbanks Natural Gas, build a processing facility on the North Slope and truck gas to Fairbanks for distribution on an expanded local piping network.  FNG President Dan Britton said the project accommodates possible gas pipelines, while protecting Fairbanks from the rising price of oil, the fuel it currently relies on for heating and power.

Anchorage Assembly Votes to Delay Knik Bridge
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
By a six-five split, Tuesday night the Anchorage Assembly voted to again delay the Knik Arm Bridge project until 2018.  The vote was advisory only, but that didn’t reduce the fervor of the public hearing.