Alaska News Nightly: September 9, 2010

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State Attempts to Overturn Federal Actions Holding Up Oil Exploration
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Sean Parnell filed another suit against the federal government on Thursday – this time to overturn the federal action that’s holding up oil exploration on Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf.

Presidential Commission Discusses the Gulf Spill
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The co-chairman of a presidential commission looking at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill says he’s been hearing plenty about the Obama administration’s offshore oil and gas moratorium from the people it has affected.  Bill Reilly has been spending some time in Alaska, hosted by University of Alaska-Anchorage Chancellor Fran Ulmer, who is a member of that panel.  The eight-member commission is looking into the causes of the Gulf spill and how to prevent it from happening again.

In an interview with APRN’s Steve Heimel today, Reilly said even though the moratorium isn’t their focus, the issue has so dominated the comments the commission is getting they decided they needed to respond.

Wood Pellet Plant Nears Completion in North Pole
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A wood pellet plant that’s had a long path to development is nearly operational in the interior. Oklahoma based Superior Pellet Fuels held an open house at its new 12,000 square foot facility off the Richardson Highway in North Pole last night.

“Frankenfish” Scare Alaska Salmon Harvesters
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
The federal Food and Drug Administration will take public testimony later this month on an issue that has many Alaska commercial fishermen up in arms.  The FDA is considering approval of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon for human consumption, and the move is considered a threat to Alaska’s wild salmon market.   But backers of the fish engineering plan say that larger, cheaper, salmon on demand will help feed a hungry world.

FDA proceedings are set to start September 19, and Alaskans against the hybrid salmon plan are gathering forces to call a halt to it.

Volcano Monitoring Equipment to be Placed in Dillingham
Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham
The Dillingham area has been selected as a site for a new piece of equipment that is expected to help monitor volcano’s around the North Pacific.

Sealaska Names Leader to Assist in Economic Development of Southeast Communities
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Sitka
Sealaska has named the new head of a subsidiary tasked with economic development in Southeast’s small communities. Russell Dick is the new CEO of Haa Aaní LLC, which will focus on resource extraction and other business ventures.