Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

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Short $1B, Icebreaker Advocates Consider Leasing, Sharing

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, D.C.

Nothing highlights American disinterest in the Arctic as much as the tiny inventory of U.S. icebreakers: One heavy-duty ship, one medium and one down for repair. Alaska leaders and some federal officials say the country can’t assert its national interests, or see the benefits of increased shipping and resource development in the Arctic, without more icebreakers. But some advocates now say, why buy when you can lease?

State Raises Concerns Over Costs As Anchorage Hospitals Vie For More ER Beds

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

State Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson is granting Providence Hospital in Anchorage permission to build eight new emergency room beds. The decision also denies Alaska Regional’s plan to build the first freestanding emergency rooms in the state. The commissioner hopes the decision will help discourage inappropriate use of an expensive healthcare option.

Barge Arrives To Courier Alaska’s Marine Debris To the Lower 48

Kayla Desroches, KMXT – Kodiak

A massive barge is docked in Kodiak this week, and that barge is more or less a huge floating trash can. It’s en route to the Lower 48 with hundreds of tons of marine debris on board – debris that will be recycled once the barge arrives in Seattle.

Ocean Acidification: A Grim Reaper For Wild Shellfish Stocks?

Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI – Homer

Alaska shellfish hatcheries may be unsustainable by 2040 due to ocean acidification, according to a recent NOAA study. But what about wild shellfish stocks?

Walker OKs Further Work On The Juneau Access Project

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

The state Department of Transportation is moving forward with its environmental review of the Juneau Access Project. The governor’s state budget director wrote a memo last week giving the department the go-ahead to finish the document that lays out the state’s case for where the road should or shouldn’t be built.

UAF To Acquire HAARP Science Program

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will take ownership of Gakona’s High Frequency Active Auroral Program, best known as HAARP.