Alaska News Nightly: February 19, 2014

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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Court Reaffirms Trans-Alaska Pipeline Value

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The State Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline is worth $10 billion.

Oil companies had argued that the pipeline should only be assessed at $850 million, and they based that number on the tariffs collected. At that lower value, the property taxes they pay to cities like Fairbanks and Valdez would be dramatically reduced.

The Supreme Court found that tariff income isn’t the only value derived from the pipeline. Its worth also comes from its ability to transport the billions of barrels of oil from the North Slope.

While the decision only concerns the 2006 assessment, oil companies have made similar arguments over the pipeline for other tax years.

Bush Pilots Hit Hard After New Interpretation Of Tax Law

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

Alaska air taxi operators say the IRS has re-interpreted tax law for their industry, hitting some Bush pilots with tax bills of up to a million dollars. Alaska’s federal lawmakers are asking the revenue office to back off until they get some answers about what the rules are. The unexpected burden is driving some air carriers into debt or out of business entirely.

Murkowski Continues To Push For King Cove Road

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has promised to continue fighting for a road connecting King Cove to Cold Bay.

Ketchikan Assembly Nixes Draft Letter To Gov. Parnell

Leila Kheiry, KRBD – Ketchikan

Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly members had a spirited discussion Tuesday night over a letter that had been submitted by two Assembly members as a suggested response to Gov. Sean Parnell’s comments in the community last week.

YK Delta Teen Smoking Rate Well Above National Average

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A Mayo Clinic study of teen smoking rates in the Yukon Kuskokwim delta region found young people there use tobacco at high rates. Nearly 30 percent of 11 to 14 year olds and 63 percent of high school students use tobacco, compared to less than 20 percent of teens nationally. Dr. Christi Patten is the lead author of the YK Delta study. She says focus groups with kids in the region helped them design the intervention program for the youth, but the results were not good.

Alaska Senate Opposes Creation Of Beringia International Park

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

The Alaska Senate has unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Beringia International Park – an idea agreed upon in 1991 by then-Presidents Bush and Gorbachev.

Juneau Childcare Workers See Higher Wages

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Juneau childcare workers are getting paid more and staying in their jobs longer than they were just a few years ago. That’s according to an organization that runs a pilot program designed to improve access to childcare in the Capital City.