Alaska News Nightly: May 17, 2012

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Federal Government Unprepared To Deal With Tsunami Debris

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The federal government is woefully unprepared for the tsunami debris washing ashore. Government officials testified on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and complained their agencies are underfunded, under-staffed and haven’t done nearly enough research.

Native American Energy Act Passes Committee Vote

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday passed Alaskan Congressman Don Young’s Native American Energy Act.  Among other actions, the bill establishes five Indian Energy Development Offices within the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Young says the legislation also hold plaintiffs, rather than defendants, liable when an energy development project on Indian or Alaska Native Corporation land is delayed by what he calls “frivolous” lawsuits.

Representative Young also passed an amendment to his bill that voids a Department of Interior rule dealing with hydraulic fracturing on tribal lands unless the land owner gives express consent.

Young says the fracking rule makes tribal lands less competitive for development.  He told the Committee he is concerned that bureaucracy keeps too many energy development projects on native lands from moving forward. There is no word on when the bill will be heard on the House Floor.

Prosecution Presenting Evidence, Witnesses In Militia Trial

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The trial of Peacemaker’s militia leader Schaeffer Cox and militia members Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon continued today in Anchorage. The prosecution is still presenting evidence and witnesses. Yesterday jurors heard from a former militia member who became alarmed at Cox’s behavior and another man who said he’d still take orders from Cox.  Sam Friedman is a reporter for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner and has been covering the trial. He says Philip Clark’s testimony started with his recollection of meeting Schaeffer Cox in 2009.

Nearby Residents Won’t See Effects Of F-22 Flight Restrictions

The Associated Press

The Air Force says people who live near F-22 bases shouldn’t see significant changes in how or where the aircraft are flying following new restrictions that will limit how far away from bases the stealth fighter jets can fly.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the restrictions on Tuesday as the Air Force attempts to figure out what’s causing pilots in the jet to experience dizziness and other symptoms of oxygen shortages while flying.

The F-22 is stationed in Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia.

Fairbanks Soldiers Celebrate Return From Deployment

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

It’s been a busy week for soldiers that make up the First Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. Wednesday, the soldiers celebrated their return from Afghanistan after a after a year-long deployment.

Memorial Honors Fallen Ft. Wainwright Soldiers

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A memorial service was held on Ft. Wainwright yesterday to honor soldiers killed during the Stryker Brigade’s deployment to Afghanistan.

St. Lawrence Island Elder Started Studying Climate Change Independently

Johanna Eurich, KNBA – Anchorage

In the annals of climate change, there’s a story that stands out. It’s about a hobby that created a scientific legacy.  Leonard Apangalook has a masters in the traditional ways of his ancestors on the Bering Sea’s remote Saint Lawrence Island.  He like other Native hunters noticed the climate was changing but he went further. He stared writing his observations down.

Herring Fishery Hampered By Weather, Unripe Fish

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

The largest herring fishery in Alaska has been hampered the last few days by weather and unripe fish.

‘Yarn Bomb’ Covers UAA Statue

Heather Aronno, APRN – Anchorage

When you hear here the word “graffiti,” you don’t necessarily associate it with something cozy. But if you’re looking at a yarn bomb, that’s essentially what you’ve got. Yarn bombing, also known as guerilla knitting, involves covering public structures or objects in a colorful, non-permanent way. And UAA just got tagged.

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