Alaska News Nightly: February 6, 2008

Today’s Chukchi Sea oil and gas lease sale was a record-setter for the federal government. Plus, Alaskans caucused in huge numbers last night. In Anchorage, a traffic jam prevented many from even reaching the site. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Chukchi Sea oil and gas lease sale sets records amid controversy
Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage
The oil industry showed it has an intense interest in the Chukchi Sea today, putting down record bids for an Alaska federal oil and gas lease sale. Some 667 bids brought $3.4 billion into the federal treasury.

Alaska Presidential caucuses burst at the seams
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Alaskans showed up at the Democratic and Republican Caucuses across the state in big numbers last night. But traffic in Anchorage was snarled, keeping some of Alaska’s city folks from getting to the event and other sites were overwhelmed with the response.

McCain leads Republican race; Alaska’s representatives noncommittal
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, DC
There are still more primaries and caucuses to come before there’s an official Republican presidential nominee. But Arizona Senator John McCain emerged as the clear front-runner after winning contests in 9 states and picking up 601 delegates yesterday. Those wins yesterday and in other contests this year have forced other Republican senators to reconcile themselves to the possibility of having a President McCain in the White House.

Murkowski presses energy secretary for Alaska renewables
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington DC
Senator Lisa Murkowski today urged U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to follow through with a grant program aimed at developing alternative energy projects that could benefit rural Alaska, and she urged more aid for geothermal projects.

Fish Board to tackle commercial and sport fishing allocation conflicts
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
The state’s Board of Fisheries continues its committee work in Anchorage this week before it begins tackling hundreds of proposals this weekend.

Rising crime rates subject of Chief Justice’s annual address
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Chief Justice Dana Fabe today told the legislature that the state courts are actively working to reduce crime in the state. In her annual State of the Judiciary address, Fabe said the courts are trying to “do things better.”

Alaska Attorney General issues opinion on McGuire corruption charges
John Ryan, KTOO – Juneau
In an Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) investigation, the Alaska Attorney General’s office has issued a legal opinion in support of Senator Lesil McGuire and her claim she did nothing wrong in accepting consulting work from Providence Hospital in 2003.

Quest fans remember 25 years of people, sleds and dogs
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Members of the Yukon Quest community gathered in Fairbanks last night to share memories of the race they helped start 25 years ago.