Alaska News Nightly: February 18, 2008

The legislature takes up a bill that could place restrictions on the Pebble Mine. Meanwhile, the Yukon Quest has become a two-man race. Plus, a new study suggests that Alaskans could be playing a significant role in causing arctic warming. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Legislature takes up “Pebble Mine” bill
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
A bill that could restrict development of the Pebble mine in Southwest Alaska is on the move again. The bill has been heard eight times since it was introduced a year ago, although today’s hearing was the first time it has come up this session.

Anderson and Mackey are neck and neck in Yukon Quest
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks and Dan Bross, KUAC – Carmacks checkpoint
Fairbanks rookie Ken Anderson is leading the Yukon Quest. He pulled into the Carmacks checkpoint this morning at 10:40 Yukon time, followed just three minutes later by defending champion Lance Mackey. The two spent the afternoon resting in the midday heat. Anderson and Mackey are far ahead of any other teams. Vying for third right now are Healy’s Dave Dalton and Yukoner Michelle Phillips, who are camped at the previous checkpoint of Pelly Crossing, 75 miles away from Carmacks. They arrived within one minute of each other around 3:00 this afternoon.

Forum in Skagway to explore contaminants in the food chain

John Ryan, KHNS- Haines
US and Canadian studies show increasing levels of mercury and other contaminants in plants and animals, and the levels are higher the further you go up the food chain. The problem will be explored at a forum tonight in Skagway.

Alaskans contributing to arctic warming
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage
It’s becoming an environmental cliche– “Alaska is ground zero for global warming.” The expression speaks to the impact the world’s carbon emissions are having on our northern environment. But according to one indicator unveiled at last week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage, we Alaskans are not only witnesses to climate change. We’re also hefty contributors

Iron Dog took a bite out of competitors
Tim Bodony, KIYU – Galena
Anchorage’s Mark McKenna and Eagle River’s Eric Quam won the Iron Dog snowmachine race on Saturday. The team will take home $25,000 for the win and another $5,000 in bonus prizes. Rough trail and mechanical trouble knocked out more than half of the race teams, and for the rest, getting to the finish line was a matter of luck and survival.

Avalanche expert providing safety classes around the state
Amy Bracken, KCHU – Valdez
High winds today are preventing a helicopter from recovering the bodies of two avalanche victims at Turnagain Pass. Two Anchorage men died snowmachining in the area Friday. A third victim survived the slide. Successfully navigating avalanche terrain is difficult work, even for snow safety professionals. But Alaskan Sean Dewalt is hoping free classes he’s offering around the state will give outdoor enthusiasts the tools they need to stay safe