Alaska News Nightly: November 12, 2007

The House raises the base rate on oil taxes; Former representative Tom Anderson now has a date set for beginning his prison sentence for corruption. And the Legislature honors Veterans Day... Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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House raises stakes on oil-tax

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The version of the new oil tax the House passed last night has been sent on to the Senate. The bill would raise state revenues half a billion dollars more than the governor proposed when she called the special session – that’s about a billion
dollars more than the current tax structure. The bill is drawing praise from the governor, and is causing some rethinking in the Senate.

Tom Anderson prison date set
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A prison date has been set for former-legislator Tom Anderson who was convicted of corruption charges in July. In an e-mail to supporters, Anderson says he will enter the Federal Correction Institution in Sheridan Oregon on December third.

Chinook bycatch numbers on the rise in the Bering Sea

Tim Bodony, KIYU – Galena
An increasing amount of king salmon are being harvested as bycatch by Bering Sea pollock trawlers. The pollock fishing industry insists that it is doing everything it can to avoid the salmon, and no one has a solid explanation for why the bycatch levels are rising.

Interior Issues Council gives alternative energy a plug

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
A Fairbanks Group is pushing an alternative energy strategy. The Interior Issues Council plan includes conservation measures and fossil fuel alternatives for Fairbanks and the rail belt region. Council Energy Committee Chairman and Golden Valley electric CEO Steve Haggenson says the plan includes mega projects like a geothermal power plant at Mt. Spur, or a large biomass generator.

Bristol Bay anti-mine initiatives could affect industry statewide

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Bristol-Bay-based groups are circulating petitions to put three citizens’ initiatives on the ballot. They say the pollution-control and habitat-protection measures would boost efforts to block the Pebble Mine. But the initiatives have the potential to impact mining and other development projects in Southeast Alaska and elsewhere in the state.

Evironmental groups threaten futher legal action to protect the Queen Charlotte Goshawk

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
Conservation groups say they may go back to court to force further protections for the Queen Charlotte Goshawk. That’s after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided the raptor may need formal protection in British Columbia, but not in Southeast Alaska.

Church-commissioned study on sexual abuse by clergy to be released
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
This week, Catholic Bishops from across the United States, including Alaska, will hear preliminary results of a church-commissioned study on the causes and context of sexual abuse by clergy. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice study shows the church as just one avenue for abuse that is pervasive in society. John Jay researcher Margaret Smith says the study provides perspective on abuse of minors by clergy by looking at it within a larger sociological framework.

Legislature meets on Veterans Day

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Alaska State Legislature was in session yesterday on Veterans day for only the second time since statehood. The previous session, in 1973, was also focused on oil and gas taxes. But before getting down to business yesterday, Anchorage Democrat Max Gruenberg offered a non-traditional prayer