Alaska News Nightly: June 17, 2010

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Governor Finishes Foster Care Reform
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Sean Parnell this week put the finishing touch on a large reform of the state’s Foster Care system by signing the last of the a series of statutory and budget changes that will give young people a better chance of success as adults.

Alaska Waste Opens Biodiesel Plant
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
Alaska Waste showed off its new biodiesel plant today at its South Anchorage facility.  It’s the first commercially-sized operation of its size in the state and will be used to help fuel the refuse company’s truck fleet.  

Mayer Makes Homes Sustainable, Affordable
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The little, snow-covered log cabin, seen often as a symbol of Alaska,  is fast becoming an icon of the past.  These days, Alaskans are seeking energy efficiency in their residential and commercial buildings.  Klaus Mayer, a partner in the architectural firm of Mayer Sattler Smith, works with climate and culture – and technical innovations — to design affordable, sustainable homes for Alaskans.  

Mat-Su Borough Assembly Approves Land Lease
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly members on Tuesday night approved a controversial land lease for road access to a coal mine in Sutton.  Local residents and the Chickaloon Tribal Council have opposed the road.  But Assembly members passed the measure with a six to one vote, after adding amendments to the proposal aimed at protecting residents living near the road that will enable Usibelli Coal to access rich deposits at Wishbone Hill.  

The Assembly amendments to the road proposal include a mandate to pave the road as soon as commercial hauling starts, measures to reduce the potential of coal dust polluting the area and  one million dollars  in pollution insurance. But many residents of the Sutton and Chickaloon areas on the Glenn Highway are disturbed by Usibelli’s plan to revive coal mining in the area.  About one hundred families live in the area of the proposed mining activity 

NASA Explores the Ice
Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska
NASA is launching a major research mission from Alaska, and it’s trading spaceships for something a little more seaworthy.

BP Blowout Could Bolster Canadian Natural Gas
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico could boost the chances of Canadian natural gas getting to market, according to Canadian officials in Washington DC this week.

The Northwest Territory’s Minister of Industry and Tourism is bearing the message that the region’s proposed Mackenzie gas pipeline could meet energy demands.

Kings Hit the Yukon
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
The Kings are now running in the Yukon.  Like many runs across the state, they’re coming in late.  Alaska Fish and game says it’s too early to judge the strength but there are some promising signs.

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Concludes
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council wrapped up its June meeting in Sitka yesterday earlier this week. During the meeting, which began June 7, the council advanced a measure to restructure a program that puts human observers on fishing vessels.