Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska - Juneau
Ed Schoenfeld is at CoastAlaska in Juneau
The U.S. Forest Service says a Friday court decision allowing a timber sale will help speed changes in Tongass National Forest logging. But opponents say it will damage other Southeast Alaska industries.
You’ve probably heard that state ferry fares are going up in May. The Alaska Marine Highway System also plans to increase commercial rates later this year.
A Department of Transportation insider is the new manager of the agency’s division overseeing Southeast Alaska. Commissioner Marc Luiken on Tuesday announced Rob Campbell will fill in as interim director of DOT’s Southcoast Region. That includes Southeast, plus coastal Southcentral and Southwest Alaska. Campbell already directs the department’s Central Region, which includes Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
Prince Rupert leaders are in Juneau this week to lobby for continued connections with Southeast Alaska. Budget cuts threaten to reduce state ferry sailings to and from the British Columbia port city. And policy differences have blocked construction of a new ferry terminal there. Rupert Mayor Lee Brain says the marine highway link helps economies on both sides of the border.
Cruise lines that sail Alaska waters are installing new pollution-control equipment. It’s aimed at clearing the air — and meeting new regulations. But it’s also dodging some stronger, more expensive measures. The stuff that comes out of cruise ship smokestacks can cloud the air, leaving a haze over port cities, and plumes along their routes.
One of the Alaska Marine Highway’s new ferry engines is down. That could affect service in Southeast and Prince William Sound. Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says a gear tooth broke Saturday on one of four engines powering the fast ferry Fairweather. Sunday’s sailing was cancelled. The ship, which is temporarily based in Cordova, sails to Whittier and Valdez, though not always on the same day.
The Walker-Mallott administration announced Wednesday that it’s set up a working group to address the transboundary mining boom near Southeast Alaska. The news comes as British Columbia’s mine-regulation agency plans meetings with Alaska fishermen and tribal groups.
Southeast Alaska’s largest tribal organization has authorized its courts to perform same-sex marriages. The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced its new policy Monday.
This week, we’re heading to Douglas- a former gold mining town that’s now part of the Juneau Borough but still maintains it’s unique character. Ed Schoenfeld is News Director for CoastAlaska. He’s also a musician who’s written half a dozen songs about his community.
The Tongass National Forest will soon be without its two top officials. Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole plans to retire in April after about a dozen years in the job. He’s overseen timber sales, stewardship efforts and other agency programs in Southeast Alaska. Cole’s deputy, Tricia O’Connor, is moving to a new Forest Service job in Wyoming.
Work continues on the Juneau Access Project, despite Gov. Bill Walker’s spending freeze. But it doesn’t involve moving dirt or pouring concrete.
A controversial mine near Southeast Alaska’s border has won approval from Canada’s federal government. That worries critics, who say the development could pollute salmon-bearing rivers.
A controversial mine near Southeast Alaska’s border won approval from Canada’s federal government on Friday.