Alaska News Nightly: February 1, 2008

Tonight in Alaska news… Congressman Don Young releases fundraising numbers for the 4th quarter of 2007.  Also, despite a second rejection from the Palin Administration, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority not giving up yet. And mushers are ready to hit the trail in the Junior Yukon Quest. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Congressman Don Young releases fundraising numbers

Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
A federal campaign funding report shows that Congressman Don Young received nearly $45,000 in contributions last quarter but paid out more than $425,000 in legal fees. Young brought in nearly $30,000 from individual contributors, only five of them with Alaska addresses. He pulled in more than $15,000 from various political committees.

Response period still open in Kensington Mine appeal
Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau
Interested parties have until February 28 to file a response to a U.S. Supreme Court appeal of a lower court decision striking down the Kensington Gold Mine’s plan to deposit tailings into Lower Slate Lake. The Alaska District of the Army Corp of Engineers plans to respond to the appeal filed earlier this week by the State of Alaska and mine owners’ Coeur Alaska.

The Palin Administration looks favorably on new Tongass plan
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
The Palin administration says it’s optimistic the new Tongass Forest land-management plan will help Southeast Alaska’s timber industry. State forestry officials played a significant role in the plan’s development.

Backbone-Two weighs in with legislator on gasline
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Senate Resources Committee today continued its background hearings to prepare legislators for their consideration of a gas pipeline when a contract is put before them. Today the panel heard from Backbone-Two, the citizens’ group that keeps an eye on the state’s relationship with the oil and gas industry.

Alaska Gasline Port Authority not giving up yet

Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Despite the governor’s rejection of their proposal for the second time, the Alaska Gasline Port Authority still hopes to work with the administration on a natural gas pipeline. Palin’s team said last month that the Port Authority’s proposal for a pipeline was incomplete. The Port Authority appealed, asking for more time, because it couldn’t get important data from project partners that pulled out of the bid. But Palin’s office said on Wednesday that it won’t reconsider the proposal.

Evironmentalists target Shell over Chukchi and Beaufort leases
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
Environmental groups are gearing up for a public and shareholder pressure campaign aimed at getting Shell to back off from plans for oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The campaign will roll out by the end of this month. The Sierra Club is putting it together along with the World Wildlife Fund, the Dutch chapter of Friends of the Earth and some smaller groups in Holland and Belgium.

Young mushers get set for running of the Junior Yukon Quest

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
While the main event is still a week away, junior Yukon Quest teams hit the trail tomorrow. The shorter 135 mile race is for mushers between 14 and 17 years old. The field includes 7 mushers, from Fairbanks, Anchorage, Wasilla, Talkeetna and Ft. Yukon.

DNR to take public testimony on hoverbarge proposal
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources will hold a public meeting Monday night on a proposal to run amphibious hoverbarges from the Tulsequah Chief Mine down the Taku River south of Juneau.

Residents in Barrow respond to Hayden Panettiere
Janelle Everette, KBRW – Barrow, and Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
Earlier this week we aired a story about the efforts of a group called Save the Whales Again!The organization is trying to pressure the Bush administration to stand firm against the attempt by Japan to resume commercial whaling.The International Whaling Commission is holding a special meeting in March. But the organization is also taking aim at subsistence whaling and that inspired a backlash from whaling families in Barrow.Actress Hayden Panettiere of the NBC TV program, ‘Heroes’ is the celebrity face of Save The Whales Again! Her comments about consuming whale meat garnered a storm of outrage by North Slope residents.