Alaska News Nightly: Apriil 2, 2012

Individual news stories are posted on APRN News page and you can subscribe to APRN’s news feeds via email, podcast and RSS.
Lawmaker Predicts Uphill Battle for Oil Tax Bill
Associated Press

State House Speaker Mike Chenault says it’s “very unlikely” an oil tax bill will pass before the legislative session’s scheduled adjournment.
GAO Raises Questions About Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

A new report from the Government Accountability Office – or GAO – raises questions about Shell’s plan to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean this summer. The report, released Friday, finds the Interior Department has strengthened oversight of oil and gas operators since the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Innovative Court Program Encourages Settlment in Divorce Cases
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Divorce can lead to a messy and drawn-out legal battle. But in Anchorage, an innovative court program is helping divorcing couples settle their cases quickly and amicably. It’s called the Early Resolution Project and it offers free legal advice to divorcing couples right in the courthouse. It’s been so successful two other Alaska cities are already adopting the model and communities around the country are considering it.

Anchorage Mayoral Candidates Prepare for Election
Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

It’s elections season in Anchorage… and you can’t drive around the city without seeing signs for Incumbent Mayor Dan Sullivan and challenger Paul Honeman. But there are actually six candidates running for Mayor.

Bethel Residents Consider the Merits of Hydro Electricity
Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Hydropower is common in some parts of state, but there are no such projects in western or southwest Alaska. That could change though as oil prices, and in turn energy prices, continue to rise.

Native Youth Olympic Teams Start Competing in Bethel
Mark Arehart, KYUK – Bethel
The Native Youth Olympics season is in full swing across Alaska.  Recently Bethel Regional High School’s NYO team faced off with 20 other teams from across western Alaska.  The meet at BRHS was the first contest of the year for the hometown team.

Otter Pelt Restrictions Anger Native Artists
Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK – Petersburg

Federal officials say they are trying to clarify rules for Alaskan Natives’ use of sea otters. A draft set of guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is aimed at addressing some of the confusion over what’s allowed. It’s been a frustrating situation for Native hunters and artisans who say the government has discouraged them from using the animals.

Savoonga Residents Hear From National Expert on Environmental Human Rights Violations
Matthew Smith, KNOM – Nome

Alaska Community Action on Toxics, or ACAT, was in Savoonga last week offering workshops on advancing environmental justice and human rights. And they brought with them a Louisiana lawyer who represents another heavily polluted community that’s bringing the federal government to international court for environmentally-based human rights violations.

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