Alaska News Nightly: September 17, 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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Southeast Alaska Experiencing Strong Economic Growth

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Southeast Alaska has more residents – and more jobs – than ever.

Search Continues For New Major Partner For Pebble Mine

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

The major remaining partner in the proposed Pebble Mine said Monday that so much has already been spent on the project that it could get by with a much smaller budget next year.

Delegation Skeptical Of Pebble’s Future

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Although Northern Dynasty officials say the company will continue to develop plans for the mine in Southwest Alaska, the state’s senators are skeptical.

ConocoPhillips Evaluating Request To Reopen Kenai Peninsula LNG Facility

The Associated Press

The state of Alaska is asking ConocoPhillips to reopen its liquefied natural gas plant on the Kenai Peninsula.

Acting Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash in a letter to ConocoPhillips President Trond-Erik Johansen asks that the company apply for a three-year license to export LNG from the plant.

ConocoPhillips announced in March it would not seek an extension of its export license but might if local gas market needs were met and there was enough gas to export.

Balash says current contracts can support local utility demands through 2018 but petroleum companies lack incentives to explore or invest without more market opportunities for gas.

ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman says the company is evaluating the request.

No State Aid In Sight For St. Lawrence Island Communities After Disaster Declaration

Laureli Kinneen, KNOM – Nome

While Governor Parnell did declare an economic disaster for the communities on St. Lawrence Island due to a record low walrus harvest this spring, no immediate relief is available from state resources for struggling families. Unlike natural disasters, there is no pot of money available to assist in an economic disaster. And because of this, an organization is spearheading a fundraising effort for the two communities.

Fairbanks Voters To Decide On 2 School Bond Propositions

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Two school bond propositions go before Fairbanks borough voters in the Oct. 1 municipal election.

Muni Rejects Union Dues Initiative

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The Municipality of Anchorage has rejected a referendum petition that was aimed at stopping the city from collecting union dues directly from employee paychecks.

Alaska Supreme Court To Consider Healy-Area LNG License Appeal

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Alaska Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal of a Healy area natural gas license. The high court will consider the appeal filed by the Denali Citizens Council on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

It’s the latest volley in a long running dispute between the local group and the state Department of Natural Resources over licensing Usibelli Coal to look for and potentially develop gas in the area around Denali National Park.

A license was first applied for in 2003. A state best interest finding in favor of the license was issued in 2010.

Minnesota Man Completes 5,000 Canoe Trek

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Minnesotan Bob Vollhaber has just accomplished what many Alaskans said wasn’t possible. He paddled a canoe, 5000 in 5 months, alone, through Alaska. He left the Washington coast in March and arrived in West Chester Lagoon in Anchorage on Sunday.