Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska - Juneau
Craig Renkert and his wife Barb planned a three-week tour of Southeast Alaska for this summer. They were looking forward to ferrying through the Inside Passage, celebrating the Fourth of July in Sitka and staying at bed-and-breakfasts along the way. Then, the couple from Ohio got some bad news.
The Walker-Mallott administration will include transboundary mine critics’ concerns in its negotiations with British Columbia. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott made that announcement after returning from a week of meetings with government, industry and aboriginal leaders in the nearby province.
The regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska upped its income by $50 million in 2014. Officials at Juneau-headquarteredSealaska say it’s the start of a multi-year recovery. But critics point to figures showing it’s still losing money. Download Audio:
British Columbia Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett proposes opening more of its permitting process to Alaska officials.
Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott says British Columbia officials seem “sincere” about protecting transboundary rivers near provincial mines.
Alaska’s largest tribal government has joined an international effort to boost Native influence in the United Nations. The Juneau-based Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska wants a larger forum to address its concerns.
Sitka and Juneau will lose a week of fast ferry sailings this month. The Chenega will return to Southeast service May 14th, a week later than scheduled. Download Audio:
Alaska’s public broadcasters dodged a bullet when the legislature’s regular session ended Monday. House and Senate negotiators decided on a 23.5 percent budget reduction. A proposed cut more than twice that size could have forced at least five stations off the air. It also would have dramatically reduced programming at other outlets.
Canadian officials say the small Southeast Alaska town of Hyder will continue to have 24-hour-a-day access to emergency health care.
Residents of the small Southeast Alaska town of Hyder no longer have nighttime access to emergency medical care. Canadian officials began closing the road linking Hyder with nearby Stewart, British Columbia, on April 1. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio