Alaska News Nightly: February 13, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Keyes Mistakenly Issued A Razor

The Associated Press

Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes was mistakenly issued a razor before he committed suicide, according to a report released today by the Alaska Department of Corrections. The report also says “it appears that razor was not retrieved.”

Keyes’ body was found in his jail cell on December 2nd, months before he was to have gone on trial for the 2012 slaying of Samantha Koenig.

Though Keyes’ death was classified a suicide, the exact cause is unknown pending autopsy results, the report says.

Before he died, Keyes told investigators he had killed Koenig and at least seven other people across the country.

Keyes was in state custody in Anchorage because there are no federal prisons in Alaska.

Chief Justice Dana Fabe Stresses Preventative Approaches

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Bringing justice to all Alaskans. That was the major theme of state Supreme court Chief Justice Dana Fabe’s speech at the Capitol today. Fabe stressed the importance of preventative approaches – like an early resolution process to help settle divorce cases quickly – to improve outcomes for both the participants involved and taxpayers.

Vote On Cruise Ship Waste Bill Delayed

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

A vote on a controversial bill involving cruise ship waste has been put off until next week.

The legislation would strike provisions of a citizen’s initiative requiring cruise ships to meet clean water standards at the point of discharge by the 2016 season, instead of allowing them to release their waste into mixing zones. The bill was introduced by the governor’s office, and it easily passed in the House last week.

Assembly Allows Union Proposal To Move Ahead, Huge Turnout

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Hundreds of people packed the Anchorage Assembly chambers last night to protest a proposal by Mayor Dan Sullivan, aimed at limiting unions. Despite the huge turnout to protest the measure, Assembly members voted to allow it to move ahead to public hearings.

Pressure Increases On US House To Pass VAWA Reauthorization

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

There’s increasing pressure on the U.S. House to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Congressman Don Young says it will happen, but probably not soon.

NOAA Rejects Endangered Species Petition For Alaska Corals

Stephanie Joyce, KUCB – Unalaska

A petition for the federal government to list several dozen species of Alaska cold water corals as endangered has stalled after an initial review.

Exxon, Rosneft Sign Agreement To Work In Russian Arctic

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Exxon Mobil and Russian national oil company Rosneft have signed an agreement to extract oil and gas from the Russian Arctic. According to information posted on Exxon’s website, the deal covers 600,000 square kilometers in the Chukchi, Laptev and Kara Seas.

Significant to Alaska, the deal also provides Rosneft the option of acquiring a 25 percent interest in Exxon’s Point Thomson natural gas and condensate project on the North Slope. Point Thomson is estimated to contain approximately 25 percent of known North Slope gas reserves.

Under the deal the companies will also jointly study the potential for an LNG project in Russian Far East.

The Exxon deal follows a similar arrangement between BP and Rosneft that fell through.

Parnell Says Fairbanks LNG Trucking Project Is Must-Pass Legislation

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Governor Sean Parnell says funding for a Fairbanks natural gas trucking project is must pass legislation this session.  Speaking to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Parnell said bills to fund the interior energy project have to be dealt with before legislators go home this spring.

FDA Considers Approving Genetically Engineered Salmon

Anne Brice, KCAW – Sitka

The FDA is considering approving genetically engineered, or GE, salmon to be sold in the U.S. Senator Mark Begich last week introduced two bills in the Senate that would ban these new salmon. And a group of Sitka residents held a demonstration against GMO salmon last weekend.

ACLU Supports Yup’ik Fishermen In Trial

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is joining the Yup’ik fishermen trials. The group has filed a “friend of the court brief” in support of the fishermen’s right to fish as part of their religious practice.

Officials Explain Proposal To Mine In White Mountain National Recreation Area

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Officials with the federal agency that oversees the White Mountain National Recreation Area will hold the first of three meetings today in Fairbanks to explain a proposal today that could lead to mining in the area.