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Alaska Politics

Outgoing Senator Mark Begich Bids Farewell On Senate Floor

Mark Begich said goodbye on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday. His six years in office end with this Congress.

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December 11, 2014

With Lower Oil Prices, State Expecting Major Deficits

When lawmakers passed their budget this spring, they planned for a gap of $1.4 billion. The deficit for that same budget has now ballooned to $3.5 billion because of low oil prices.

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December 10, 2014

Congress Gives Fishermen 3-Year Reprieve from EPA Regs

The U.S. Senate and House on Wednesday passed a Coast Guard bill that includes a three-year moratorium on vessel discharge regulations for boats 79 feet and smaller. Both Alaska Senators spoke in favor of it. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, argued from the Senate floor for a permanent fix but she says other lawmakers insisted on a temporary moratorium.

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December 10, 2014

New Report Questions Susitna-Watana Economics; AEA Responds

A new fiscal analysis of the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project questions the Alaska Energy Authority’s estimates regarding how much the 735-foot tall dam would cost the State of Alaska, if built.

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December 10, 2014

Walker To Begin Reviewing Candidates For National Guard Post

Walker says he will be reviewing candidates for the adjutant general position next week and that a decision should be made shortly after.

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December 10, 2014

How Murkowski Played Dealmaker to Get Controversial Lands Package

The Senate is expected to pass a major public lands package this week as a rider to the annual defense bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of the key negotiators on this controversial compromise, which has split advocacy groups on the right and left. Murkowski is planning more of the same when she becomes a committee chairman in the new year. What did it take to free these bills from the Congressional quagmire?

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December 9, 2014

Bill to Remove Alaska Exception to VAWA Passes in U.S. Senate

A bill to remove Sec. 910 from the Violence Against Women Act cleared the Senate today. But it’s unclear whether the bill can pass the House before Congress adjourns this week.

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December 9, 2014

Sullivan Announces New Hires for DC Office

U.S. Senator-elect Dan Sullivan has chosen Joe Balash as chief of staff, Mike Anderson as spokesman and DeLynn Henry as scheduler.

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December 9, 2014
The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Noble Drilling Fined $12.2 Million For 2012 Incidents

The Alaska U.S. District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that a plea deal has been reached between the federal government and Noble Drilling for incidents involving the drill ship Noble Discoverer and drill barge Kulluk while under contract with Shell Oil during the 2012 arctic drilling season.

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December 8, 2014

DOT Releases Bridge Studies

A draft socioeconomic review and traffic forecast for the proposed Knik Arm Crossing project was released today [monday] by a trio of independent consulting firms. Cardno Consulting Services, Agnew -Beck and CDM Smith reported on separate forecasts for different aspects of the project.

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December 8, 2014
The Klehini River valley near the Palmer Project north of Haines. (Photo by John S. Hagen)

Fishermen Debate Merits of Possible Southeast Mine

A Canadian company is exploring copper and zinc deposits at the Palmer Project site north of Haines. It’s not even a proposed project yet – but it’s is already dividing the community of Haines. One group having a hard time forming consensus on the issue is the commercial fishing fleet in the Northern Lynn Canal.

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December 8, 2014

Walker Releases Parnell Budget As Placeholder

Walker described Parnell’s proposal as a “starting point” to meet a budget deadline that comes two weeks after inauguration.

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December 5, 2014

Walker Administration Preparing Energy Disaster Declaration

While Gov. Bill Walker addressed the cost of energy in his inauguration speech, an economic disaster declaration for the Interior and for rural Alaska is still outstanding.

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December 5, 2014
Juneau Schools Superintendent Mark Miller reads his decision in the company of three guests – Marcelo Quinto, Charlotte McConnell and Katherine Hope – who attended Native boarding schools as children. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Juneau Schools To Replace Controversial Texts With Local History

Juneau Schools Superintendent Mark Miller says the district will remove four controversial readers from the elementary school language arts curriculum. He announced his decision at a press conference Thursday at the Zach Gordon Youth Center.

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December 5, 2014
Unrest in Ferguson, MO in August 2014.(Photo via Loavesofbread/Wikimedia Creative Commons)

Police and Deadly Force

If you live in a high-crime neighborhood, even if you’re just visiting, you’re under increased risk of encountering a scared police officer if your skin is dark. Does urban Alaska have a chance to avoid the problems other cities are having that involve police and deadly force?

APRN: Tuesday, 12/9 at 10:00am

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December 5, 2014

DEC Gets Feedback on Fairbanks Air Quality Plan

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials have been in Fairbanks this week sharing information and taking public feedback on a plan for getting the area into compliance with federal air quality standards.

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December 4, 2014

State’s New Attorney General To Review Gay Marriage Case, Guard Issues

Alaska’s new attorney general says he will view litigation over same-sex marriage in the state strictly along constitutional lines.

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December 4, 2014

Alaska’s Top Military Commander Checks In After A Year On The Job

Alaska’s top military commander, Lieutenant General Russell Handy has been on the job here for more than a year. He’s overseeing ALCOM here at a time when the U.S relationship with Russia has grown frosty. In September, Russian military flights that were within 50 miles of the Alaskan and Canadian coast lines caused enough concern that F22s were sent from JBER to intercept them. Lt. General Handy says the Russian flights did not cross into the 12 mile international boundary zone and were not considered hostile.

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December 4, 2014

Sealaska Selections in Tongass Added to Defense Bill

Sealaska Corporation would get land within the Tongass National Forest in a bill that’s moving quickly in the final days of Congress. It would turn over about 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska, mostly for logging and development. It’s part of a large package of public lands bills that’s been tacked on to a must-pass defense bill.

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December 3, 2014
Legislators Prepare For Marijuana Regulation

Legislators Prepare For Marijuana Regulation

When it comes to marijuana legislation, Senate Judiciary Chair Lesil McGuire says the number one goal for her is to “implement the voters’ will.”

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December 3, 2014