Shaylon Cochran, KDLL - Kenai
Shaylon Cochran is a reporter at KBBI in Homer.
The state of Alaska leased nearly 150,000 acres to oil and gas developers in a sale on Wednesday. The sale represents a continued interest in development in Cook Inlet that could focus on oil drilling in the coming years.
A weekend encounter with a brown bear on the Kasilof River left a Kenai man with just minor scrapes and bruises and his family unharmed. But the encounter was a terrifying one. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran spoke with Toby Burke for a first hand account of what happened.
Buccaneer Energy Alaska has filed litigation countering a lawsuit brought by a subcontractor in December concerning work on the jack-up rig Endeavor. The Endeavor is currently in Homer. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran has the details.
Oral arguments are being heard Friday in US District Court in Anchorage for a lawsuit that challenges the decision made by the National Marine Fisheries Service to authorize the first of at least three years of seismic exploration in Cook Inlet.
For the past three years, a small group of dedicated volunteers has been putting in countless hours restoring a Watchmen’s cabin for the Kasilof Regional Historical Association. Each Friday they get together and make a few small steps toward bringing the once-ailing cabin back to life.
Plans for a 29-mile pipeline underneath Cook Inlet were announced Wednesday. Cook Inlet Energy, one of many new players in the area, is the company applying for a right-of-way lease from the Department of Natural Resources. An underwater pipeline would solve several problems for Cook Inlet oil producers, but other concerns remain.
Governor Sean Parnell visited Kenai Wednesday to meet with local officials, mingle with residents and make a $30 million announcement. That’s the amount the Governor is proposing to spend on a five-year Chinook Salmon Research Initiative.
The Task Force organized in October to address issues related to the Department of Fish and Game’s king salmon management plan met for the first of four meetings Friday at Kenai Peninsula College.
The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is developing a Highway Safety Improvement Program project that will construct Slow Vehicle Turnouts on the Sterling Highway. The project would add 22 of the turnouts to reduce injuries and fatalities between Soldotna and Bay Crest Hill in Homer.
The energy company Hilcorp has announced another step toward finalizing its acquisition of Cook Inlet assets from Marathon. The transaction had been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, but that investigation has closed and the deal will move forward as South Central Alaska braces for a possible natural gas shortage in the coming years.
As modern development speeds toward some of the last truly subsistence-based economies and tribes in the world, researchers are working to better understand this way of life. Two anthropologists from Kenai Peninsula College have been working on a project just like that for the past two years and recently presented what they learned in Soldotna.
After concerns were raised about the safety of the Drift River storage facility located at the base of Mt. Redoubt, the energy company Hilcorp has started a project to ensure protection of the large oil tanks located there. But, the project first needed waivers from provisions of the Redoubt Bay Critical Habitat Management Plan.
Flood waters have begun to recede in Seward and points north, but the National Weather Service has extended its flood warning for the Kenai River until Thursday. Flooding along the Kenai has been reported in several areas and forced road closures and evacuations.
After a long summer of heated campaigning, the Senate race on the Kenai Peninsula ended with the incumbent defeated. The winner, Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche does not face a challenger in November.
The concerns over this year’s low return of king salmon to Cook Inlet have made it to the federal level. Governor Sean Parnell sent a letter to the Commerce Department last week seeking a federal disaster declaration for Cook Inlet fisheries.
Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Fisheries did little to offer relief to set netters on Cook Inlet’s east side. Presented with seven petitions asking for the chance to salvage the last few days of the sockeye season, the Board voted 5-2 to take no action.
This spring, Hilcorp, Alaska announced plans to reopen the Drift River Terminal oil storage facility on the west side of Cook Inlet. Hilcorp’s announcement raised concerns about the safety of the terminal because it’s at the base of Redoubt Volcano. Calls have been made for construction of a pipeline to transfer oil to the east side of the Inlet for processing, most recently by the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council or CIRCAC.
Nearly 200 commercial set net fishermen from the east side of Cook Inlet gathered Friday with their families to rally support for a change in the policies that have allowed just three days of fishing so far this year.
As in many parts of the state, so far, 2012 has been a rough year for fishing on the Kenai Peninsula. Despite a healthy run of sockeye salmon to the Kenai River, king salmon fishing was shut down completely this week. The slow season is beginning to take its toll, and not just on the sport fishermen.