Alaska News Nightly: May 3, 2011

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BP Paying $25 Million for 2006 North Slope Spill
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
BP Alaska has agreed to pay 25 million in civil penalties for a 2006 oil spill on the North Slope.  Federal officials are also requiring the company to beef up inspections and preventive maintenance on its hundreds of miles of pipe.

Corps of Engineers Planning ‘Remedial Investigation’ at Fort Glenn
Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB – Unalaska
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning what’s called a “remedial investigation” at Fort Glenn, a former defense site on Umnak Island. The goal is to figure out what military contaminants have been left there.

Latest Salcha Ice Jam Appears to Release
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The flood threat which prompted an evacuation notice last night for an area of Salcha subsided some this morning. A new ice jam on the Tanana River flushed another large volume of water into Pile Driver Slough late Monday, flooding yards and portions of the Old Richardson Highway, but Salcha Fire and Rescue Chief Jim Skotnicki says it appeared this morning that the latest jam had released.

Levels on the Tanana at Salcha fluctuated Monday as the two separate ice jams backed up water and released, but Skotnicki says the large volume of water they forced into the slough continues to cause problems.

Skotnicki says several homes are surrounded by water, and that some residents evacuated last night.  He says concerns remain about additional ice coming down the Tanana, creating a new ice jam, and sending another wave of water into the slough.

Alaska Bar Association Meeting in Fairbanks
Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks
Lawyers from around the state will be in Fairbanks this week for the Alaska Bar Association’s annual convention, but some of them won’t be attending the keynote speech by a controversial former U.S. official.

Coast Guard Names Sitka a ‘Coast Guard City’
Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka
Sitka was officially named a “Coast Guard City” on Saturday. The designation belongs to only 12 communities in the country and is awarded by the Coast Guard to signify a close bond between the military branch and the communities in which it serves.

‘Classrooms for Climate’ Takes Advantage of Chugach National Forest
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Chugach National Forest, bordering Anchorage and stretching onto the Kenai Peninsula, is a natural place to study climate change. And a conference called “classrooms for climate” this week at the University of Alaska Anchorage is taking advantage of that opportunity.

The conference is bringing in experts and youth delegates from around the world to examine the ecological changes taking place in the forest. One of those experts is JP Leous, an advisor for The Wilderness Society. He will speak about how climate change is creating jobs in areas you might not expect. He says the idea for the conference came about when people at UAA and at the Chugach National Forest started talking.

Tribal Leaders Work to Resolve ANCSA Issues
Sophie Evan, KYUK – Bethel
Alaska Native tribal leaders are meeting this week about unresolved issues of ANCSA or the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The meeting will take place at the Millenium Hotel in Anchorage, Thursday through Saturday. It follows a resolution made by Alaska tribes calling on Congress to restore aboriginal land titles, and hunting and fishing rights to Alaska’s Indigenous People.