Alaska News Nightly: September 28, 2010

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Washington Gets Chance to Say Goodbye to Stevens
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Alaska’s longtime senator Ted Stevens was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday near the nation’s capital.  The former Republican senator died on August 9 in a plane crash in western Alaska.  A memorial in Anchorage last month honored his life, but Tuesday’s burial ceremony was a chance for Washington, where he served for 40 years, to pay respects.

State Nears Official Consideration of Pebble Mine
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Tuesday, Legislators began looking at the mass of information they will need as the state nears official consideration of the Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay.

Wasilla Soldier May Be Tried in Court Martial Proceedings
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
A soldier from Wasilla is waiting to see if he will be tried in a court martial proceeding. Spc Jeremy Morlock is accused of premeditated murder in the deaths of three Afghan civilians. After a hearing yesterday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, a presiding officer will make a recommendation on whether to move forward with a court martial trial. If convicted, Morlock could face the death penalty.

Hal Bernton is a reporter with the Seattle Times, who has been following this story as it develops. He says Morlock attended yesterday’s hearing.

Wood-Pellet Heat Moving Forward in Southeast
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Anchorage
Wood-pellet heat is getting a little more traction in Southeast Alaska. Coast Guard Air officials have announced plans to install a biomass boiler at their Sitka Air Station within a year. And some other building managers around the region are considering the option.

McAdams Unveils Energy Plan
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Scott McAdams faced the press on Tuesday with his Alaska energy plan.  McAdams, speaking in his Anchorage headquarters decorated with gold and blue balloons, said energy is an issue of national security, yet hundreds of millions of dollars of American wealth are transferred to nations that do not care for this country.  McAdams’ four point plan revolves around the aggressive marketing of Alaska’s energy wealth. He supports developing ANWR.

The renewable energy fund would funnel the federal portion of ANWR revenues and at least half of the OCS revenues from Alaska to be invested in a Permanent Fund like program to benefit the entire country.  Using a 2008 Congressional report as a prompt, McAdams said that such a fund could provide more than $2 billion a year for renewable energy investment.  He also wants to secure 37 percent of OCS revenues for Alaska communities.

McAdams said there will be no quick shift from an oil based economy to a renewable energy platform, and carbon based energy will necessarily survive for years to come.   So McAdams wants to develop more oil in Alaska and use that revenue to fund a nationwide renewable energy plan.

McAdams said as yet there is no comprehensive plan to harness renewable energy in the country in general.  He said Alaska is in a position to be on the forefront of an energy shift from oil to renewable sources.  One of those sources is hydropower. McAdams plans to work to change federal laws to recognize hydropower as renewable.

Mat-Su Voters Have a Lot on Their Ballots
Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
When Mantanuska-Susitna Borough voters go to the polls on October 5, ballot propositions 2, 3 and 4, will ask them to approve more than $75 million in school and transportation bonds.  As KSKA’s Ellen Lockyer reports, they’ll also decide on two political issues that could determine the future direction of local government.