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Alaska News Nightly: May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012 - 5:02 pm

Individual news stories are posted under APRN News. You can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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Cook Inlet Oil, Gas Lease Sale Nets Over $6.8 Million

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

State officials say Wednesday’s Cook Inlet oil and gas lease sale netted more than $6.8 million. Preliminary results indicate the sale is the second largest in Cook Inlet in a dozen years. Bill Barron, state Department of Natural Resources oil, says an gas division director, says five groups bid on 44 tracts.

The three primary bidders at today’s sale were Apache, Cook Inlet Energy, and a new player in Cook Inlet, Hillcorp.

Barron says the increased interest in Cook Inlet resources could be attributed to Apache’s earlier exploration efforts

State tax incentives have played a role in luring new development to the Inlet.  There’s no tax on Cook Inlet oil production.  Producers do pay a 5 percent royalty on new discoveries for the first 10 years. Barron says after today’s lease sale, it takes about a year before exploration can begin.

Naknek Residents Take On Logistical Recycling Endeavor

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

Recycling in rural Alaska can be an expensive logistical endeavor. And as recyclable material makes its way to local landfills, some electronics can threaten groundwater supplies. As part of our ongoing series on recycling across the state, KDLG’s Dave Bendinger looks at one Naknek resident’s effort to establish an economically viable means to recycle electronics in Bristol Bay.

Work Between Native Hunters, Biologists Lays Groundwork For Future

Johanna Eurich, KNBA – Anchorage

Climate change is causing ice withdrawal and creating stress for animals that live on it. When sick seals started showing up on the beaches off Barrow last July, some saw it as the latest evidence of global warming.

As part of our series on climate change, Johanna Eurich reports that tracking clues behind the ring seal’s sickness created an international effort, with Native hunters working with biologists in a way that may provide a model for responding to future changes in the Arctic.

Shell Oil Hopes To Begin Exploratory Drilling This Summer

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Shell Oil officials are hoping to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer, searching for off shore oil and gas. Environmental organizations have filed suit throughout the permitting process, claiming not enough is known about the fragile arctic ecosystem. But Shell leaders say there is a substantial amount of science from numerous sources that has been compiled over at least four decades. Michael Macrander is the lead scientist for Shell Arctic research. Shell is using acoustic monitoring to better understand how whales respond to noise. This is a sample of the whale calls they’ve recorded.

Another Weak Yukon River Chinook Run In The Forecast

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Another weak king salmon return is forecast for the Yukon River.  Alaska Department of Fish and Game Yukon area management biologist Steve Hayes says this summer’s Chinook run is predicted to be up to 146,000 fish, in line with weak runs since 1997.

Bald Eagles Back On The Attack

Alexandra Guiterrez, KUCB – Unalaska

In Unalaska, there are a few big signs that spring has arrived. The crocuses are coming up, the snow is starting to melt, and most significantly, the bald eagles are on attack. As KUCB’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports, trouble with the birds has started up again.

Anchorage Residents React To Morning Quake

Heather Aronno, APRN – Anchorage

An earthquake struck Anchorage this morning just as many residents were beginning their day. The 4.7 magnitude quake shook the city at 7:03 a.m.. There were no reports of damage, but the earthquake was centered right in town, so it felt very strong to most residents.

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