Alaska News Nightly: July 24, 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

Download Audio

Oil Tax Heavyweights Spar At Packed Debate

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Anchorage

It was standing-room only at an Anchorage debate on whether to keep the new capped oil tax rate or to switch back to a system where the rate goes up along with the profits. It was an unusually large – and even occasionally rowdy – crowd for the subject matter. But with voters deciding how they want to manage the bulk of the state’s revenue in less than a month, the stakes are high.

Effort to Ban Commercial Set Netting Moves Forward

Shaylon Cochran, KDLL – Kenai

The push to ban commercial set netting moved another step forward this week. A Superior Court Judge in Anchorage ruled yesterday that the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance can begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiative, so voters can decide about the value of commercial set net fishing in Cook Inlet.

Investigation Continues Into Tourist Train Derailment

Margaret Friedenauer, KHNS – Gaines

An investigation continues into what caused a tourist train to derail along a mountain pass north of Skagway yesterday, injuring 19 passengers.

Tribal Leaders Discuss Ambler Road

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Tribal leaders are gathering interested parties, including state and federal officials, in the village of Allakaket to discuss the state’s proposed road into the Ambler Mining District.  Upper Koyukuk River people are concerned about impacts to subsistence resources by the road, and mining development it would bring.

Over 11,000 Alaskans Receiving Health Insurance Refunds

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

More than 11,000 Alaskans are getting refunds from their health insurance company. As part of the Affordable Care Act, companies have to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care and wellness.  If they don’t hit that target, they are required to send refunds to customers. The average refund amount in Alaska is nearly $388 per family.

Business leaders and Politicians Meet in Whistler BC for Economic Summit

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The Pacific Northwest Economic Region or PNWER summit is happening right now in Whistler British Columbia. The annual gathering of business leaders and politicians from Western Canada and the Northwest states alternates between the two countries each year. Last year, meetings were in Anchorage. At least 11 of Alaska’s legislators are attending.

Commercial Chum Bustling, But Causing Anger on the Yukon

Zachariah Hughes, KNOM – Nome

With chum salmon surging through much of Western Alaska, commercial openings are having dramatically different effects from a price spike in Kotzebue, to frustration towards managers in the upper Yukon.

Japanese Fishermen Visit Alaska for Ideas on Sustainability

Lisa Phu, KTOO – Juneau

A group of Japanese fishermen is touring the Northwest United States to get an education in fisheries. The group’s first stop was Juneau where they toured the hatchery at DIPAC Monday morning.