Alaska News Nightly: June 20, 2008

Governor Palin proposes $1,200 energy assistance checks for Alaskans. Also, Shell decides against offshore test drilling in the Beaufort Sea this year. Plus, Southeast Halibut charter operators win a victory in Federal court. Also, the state is moving forward with a lease sale for geothermal exploration and development at Mount Spurr. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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$1,200 each – Governor Palin unveils her new energy assistance plan

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Sarah Palin this afternoon released her plan to help Alaskans meet the high cost of energy throughout the state. It will give the legislature a new topic to consider this summer alongside the gasline plan that is the subject of the current special session.

Rising energy costs driving up rents in Kotzebue

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
As the legislature grapples with how to help Alaskans with high fuel prices, the increasing cost of energy is affecting other living expenses like rent. Dick McCart is a vice president for the Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation or KIC based in Kotzebue. He went on KOTZ radio this week to inform people that rent in all of their 120 units was going up this fall – a lot.

Shell chooses not to drill this year in the Beaufort Sea

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
For the second straight year, Shell is scrapping its plans to perform test drilling for oil in the Beaufort Sea.

Legislature wraps up AGIA hearings in Anchorage
David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
State lawmakers are wrapping up their public hearings in Anchorage on whether they should grant approval to the AGIA-backed TransCanada plan to build an Alaskan natural gas pipeline. It appears likely that the legislature will eventually approve the project. BUT, a competing plan to build the gasline is moving ahead regardless, opening it’s own field office in Tok yesterday.

Mitsubishi partners with Alaska Gas Line Port Authority
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
Mitsubishi Corporation is partnering up with the Alaska Gas Line Port Authority. The Japanese corporate giant is the latest company to try to help the public entity develop an in state North Slope natural gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas export terminal.

State OK’s lease for geothermal development at Mount Spurr

Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The state of Alaska is moving forward with a lease sale for geothermal exploration and development at Mount Spurr.

Southeast Halibut charter operators win a victory in Federal court
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Southeast charter halibut clients will continue to be allowed to catch up to two fish a day. A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction requested by a group of charter operators and lodge owners. It strikes down a one-fish-a-day limit that went into effect June 1st.

Deshka closed to sport king salmon fishing
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Tonight’s unexpected closure of sport king salmon fishing on the Deshka River has rattled Matanuska Valley anglers. Dismal king salmon runs on the Deshka have prompted the state Department of Fish and Game to order the fishing ban, but Valley fishermen say commercial harvesters downriver should share the pain.

State writer laureate Jerah Chadwick moving to the lower 48
Anne Hillman, KIAL – Unalaska
After 26 years, state writer laureate and Unalaska resident Jerah Chadwick is leaving the state. KIAL’s Anne Hillman spoke to him about his time in Unalaska and how it affected his writing.