Alaska News Nightly: January 30, 2014

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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Shell Calls Off This Year’s Exploratory Drilling Plans For Alaska

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Shell announced on Thursday that it has called off its plan to do exploratory oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska this year – and what it will do in future years is not clear.

Unalaska Copes With Shell’s Decision Not To Drill

Lauren Rosenthal, KUCB – Unalaska

At least one Alaska community was banking on Shell’s presence – and business – this summer.

Murkowski Pushes To Lift Crude Oil Exports Ban

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

A campaign by Senator Lisa Murkowski to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports got its first hearing in Washington today. It’s been 25 years since Congress has formally considered the ban it adopted during the Arab oil embargo, but the recent energy boom in the Lower 48 is triggering new debates.

DOT Works To Dig Out Richardson Highway

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

State Department of Transportation crews will be working for days to get the Richardson highway completely opened. Hannah Blankenship is a spokeswoman for the DOT’s northern region. She says the majority of the backed up water from the Lowe River has receded back to within the river’s banks.

UAS Training Takes To Skies Above JBER

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Soldiers from the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion conducted an Unmanned Aircraft System – or UAS – training flight on Thursday morning in the skies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

Department of Defense Prepares For More Arctic Activity

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Shell may be abandoning their plans for drilling in Alaska’s Arctic waters in 2014, but vessel traffic, tourism and other activity will continue to advance. As part of our ongoing look at future plans for port development and military oversight of Arctic safety and security, APRN’s Lori Townsend recently spoke with Daniel Chiu the undersecretary for strategy at the Department of Defense. Chiu says the Pentagon expects large increases in defense activity is likely decades out, but he says DOD is closely following climate science to ensure they have the lead time to adjust if necessary.

State Dems Introduce Legislation To Expand Medicare In Alaska

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Democratic state lawmakers are introducing legislation in the House and Senate to expand Medicaid in Alaska. Governor Sean Parnell rejected the expansion, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, in November.

Taku River Tlingit Sue To Stop Tulsequah Mine

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation has filed suit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to stop the Tulsequah Chief Mine. The old mine is at the headwaters of Southeast Alaska’s most prolific salmon stream.