Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017

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Fire destroys Anchorage apartment building, kills 2

Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

A midtown Anchorage apartment building caught fire early Wednesday morning, killing two people and injuring 16 others. A portion of the three-story Royal Suite Lodge has collapsed from the blaze, and the cause is currently unknown.

Governor Walker issues disaster declaration on opioid epidemic

Anna Rose MacArthur and Lori Townsend, KYUK – Bethel and Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Governor Bill Walker has declared Alaska’s opioid epidemic a state disaster and ordered state and federal money for overdose medication.

Reserves, dividends would be gone in 10 years without action, lawmakers told

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

Alaska’s budget reserves could be gone in 10 years if the state government doesn’t take action to balance its budget, the Legislature’s nonpartisan finance expert said Wednesday (Feb. 15).

New bill from House lawmaker would hike minimum tax on oil industry

Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau

A state House lawmaker has released another bill proposing changes to the state’s oil and gas tax credit regime. Anchorage Democrat Les Gara debuted his bill, called the “Fair Share for Alaska’s Oil Act,” on Wednesday (Feb. 15).

Environmental group to sue Hilcorp over Cook Inlet gas leak

Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

Hilcorp’s leaking gas pipeline in Cook Inlet is drawing concern from environmental groups and state and federal agencies.

Kenai Borough Assembly to consider eliminating religious invocation

Shahla Farzan, KBBI – Homer

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted to introduce an ordinance on Feb. 14 that would put an end to the invocation that begins each meeting.

Watchdog group skeptical of tugboats used as oil transport escorts

Rachel Waldholz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage

A watchdog group is raising questions about whether new tugboats planned for Prince William Sound are up to the job of escorting oil tankers through the region. The new tugs are part of a major transition taking place in the system set up to prevent oil spills after the Exxon Valdez.

Alaska migratory bird co-management council proposes an emperor goose subsistence hunt

Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel

After decades of conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has submitted a proposal to open a subsistence hunt and a general hunt for the Emperor Goose in Alaska. An egg hunt for Cackling Canada geese could follow.

After die-off, sea stars face uncertain future

Shahla Farzan, KBBI – Homer

Sea star wasting syndrome was first documented in Kachemak Bay in 2014, but it wasn’t until last summer that the mysterious infection began killing sea stars in large numbers.

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