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Alaska News Nightly: September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS.

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Department of the Interior Announces NPR-A Lease Sale

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced it will hold a lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska in November.

The lease sale will take place in Anchorage Wednesday Nov. 7. Companies will be able to bid for drilling access to four and a half million acres of land.

Last month, the Department of Interior announced its plan for drilling in the NPR-A. The entire Alaska Congressional delegation slammed the proposal, saying it locked up 23 million acres from development.

This will be the second lease sale in the reserve in two years.  The sale will take place one day after the election. The announcement will allow the Obama campaign to further tout its “all of the above energy” strategy. The president and Democrats have taken heat for not encouraging enough oil and gas drilling on federal land.

Parnell Visits Asia, Touts Alaska’s Resource Potential

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell is in Japan today – after leaving South Korea

yesterday. He’s pitching foreign governments on the state’s potential to export liquefied natural gas.

False Pass Experimenting With Hydro Power

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

The tiny Aleutian village of False Pass is about to become a lab for cutting-edge renewable energy. If the experiment works, False Pass will be the first town in the country to be powered by ocean currents.

Brotherhood Bridge For Sale

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

Need a bridge?

It’s not the usual thing to see in the classifieds, but the state of Alaska wants to unload the 47-year-old Brotherhood Bridge, which spans Juneau’s Mendenhall River.

Medical Examiners Work To ID Body Found Near Coastal Trail

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Medical examiners are working to identify a body found near the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage on Monday. Anchorage Police Department Spokesman, Lieutenant Dave Parker says a person using the trail spotted the body in a heavily wooded area between the paved trail and Cook Inlet, just before 3 p.m. Monday afternoon. The APD closed a 200-yard portion of the trail east of Postmark Drive to investigate into the night. Officials say the body is badly decomposed, they cannot identify the gender and dental records are being used to make an ID. Parker says the investigation is ongoing and the medical ID could take some time.

Alaska Railroad to Resume Freight Service

The Associated Press

The Alaska Railroad is planning to resume freight traffic between Anchorage and Fairbanks on Tuesday after repairs were made to 500 feet of track washed out by flooding.

Railroad officials in a release say crews working double shifts have repaired the track near Gold Creek, about 35 miles north of Talkeetna.

Trains between Anchorage and Fairbanks have not operated since Sept. 19. That means no tank cars carrying petroleum from the North Pole Refinery or coal cars from Usibelli Coal Mines at Healy north of Denali National Park.

The railroad has put the cost estimate to repair damage system-wide from flooding and storms at nearly $2 million. Officials later this week expect to add to that lost revenue from interrupted train deliveries, and say it’s expected to be a substantial amount.

USGS Tests Early Earthquake Warning System In California

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Scientists can’t predict earthquakes yet. But the United States Geological Survey has been piloting a system in California for a year that gives early warning before an earthquake hits. The federal agency will update Congress on how it’s working later this week.

Elizabeth Cochran is a USGS Seismologist. She says the agency has been working on developing an earthquake early warning system for a long time.

Cruise Ship Wastewater Handling Practices May Change

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

A report that could change the way cruise ships handle wastewater is nearly done. A state science advisory panel met last week in Juneau and shared some of its work with the public.

Historian Discovers Early Cartographer Technique

Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka

Every once in a while an historian makes a find that changes everything.

Recently, a researcher combing through the National Archives made just such a discovery. In this case, while working on a project to scan some of the very first maps of Alaska, he learned how early cartographers so accurately depicted places they had never been.

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