Alaska News Nightly: May 21, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Parnell Approves State Operating Budget

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Thirteen billion dollars — that’s the cost of running the state next year. Gov. Sean Parnell approved the state’s budget today, and APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports that the he was light with his veto pen.

Governor Signs SB21, HB4 Into Law

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Governor Sean Parnell also signed into law Tuesday two bills that he says will have a huge impact on young Alaskans and on Alaskans of  the future.  SB 21, the hard fought oil tax reform bill, and HB 4, a bill authorizing an in – state gasline.

Crowd Protests Oil Tax Cuts

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Outside Anchorage’s  Dena’ina Center,  Senator Hollis French warmed up a small crowd protesting the oil tax breaks for Alaska producers.

Executives Push Feds For Export Approval

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Leaders from energy companies say they’re worried the window for exporting liquefied natural gas is closing.

As APRN’s Peter Granitz reports, they’re sounding off less than a week after the federal government granted the second export license in the Lower 48.

Ice Jam Above Fort Yukon Could Mean Disaster

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

A massive sheet of winter ice is holding back hundreds of thousands of gallons of silty Yukon River ice roughly 12 miles upriver from Fort Yukon.  Ed Plumb is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

Yukon River-Area Villages Voice For Flooding

Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

Other villages in the middle Yukon River region are bracing for high water and breakup-related flooding as the weather starts to warm in interior Alaska.

Kulluk Hearing Continues In Anchorage

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

The hearings about the grounding of the drilling rig Kulluk continued today in Anchorage.  In the morning, the investigators heard from the contractor who towed the rig up last summer without incident.  In the afternoon, Shell emergency response executive Norman “buddy” Custard returned for more questioning.

Emotions Run High As Fishermen Testify On Religion

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

Emotions ran high as the Kuskokwim fishermen trials continued today (Tuesday) at the Bethel Court House. More fishermen were found guilty for illegal fishing last summer during King salmon closures.

Bail Denied For Defendant In Coast Guard Killings

The Associated Press

A federal judge has denied bail for a 61-year-old man accused of killing two men at the Coast Guard station on Kodiak Island.

James Wells wanted to be released to detention and electronic monitoring to third-party custodians as he awaited trial for the fatal shootings of Coast Guardsmen Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle in April 2012. Wells is charged with murder and is set to go on trial in February 2014.

Wells appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John D. Roberts in Anchorage Monday.

Roberts said he was not “at all convinced” that bail was appropriate in the case.

Wells’ arrest in February came after an investigation led by the FBI and the Coast Guard Investigative Service.