Alaska News Nightly: Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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Gov. Dunleavy chooses new chief of staff, Babcock moved to policy advisor

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

Tuckerman Babcock stepped down to become a senior policy advisor. And former Senate President Ben Stevens will be the new chief of staff.

Campaign to recall Gov. Dunleavy set to start August 1

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Organizers say the governor has made multiple moves that meet the legal justifications for recall, and will begin a long campaign to hold a recall election.

Confused about Alaska’s budget? You’re not alone. Here’s 10 things to know

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

The special session started slowly — with legislators split between Wasilla and Juneau. But on Monday, lawmakers passed legislation to fund the Capital Budget, set this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend at $1,600 and restored parts of the Operating Budget the governor vetoed.

Legislature restores Ocean Ranger program

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The Alaska Legislature has restored funding for the Ocean Rangers, but the future of the cruise ship inspection program is uncertain. The Rangers were approved by voters in 2006, and advocates say they’ve been instrumental in protecting Alaska from pollution.

Groups sue for information on Arctic refuge lease sale

Associated Press

Alaska Native and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Interior Department, saying it has withheld information regarding its preparation for a petroleum lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Following promising news from EPA, stock prices rise for Pebble owner

Alex Hager, KDLG – Dillingham

On Tuesday, the EPA threw out proposed restrictions that could have put a stop to the Pebble Mine project. With a potential hurdle out of the way, shares in the company that owns Pebble saw a boost.

Delays bump UAF power plant up-and-running date to mid-August

Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks staff and contractor personnel are still working out glitches that are keeping the new $245 million power plant from going fully operational.

Amid UA budget woes, some students are noticing increased military recruitment

Zoe Grueskin, KTOO – Juneau

An Alaska Army recruiter says their outreach hasn’t changed. But some University of Alaska students say more military recruiters have reached out amid the university’s budget cuts.

Nome-area ranch works to get youth into reindeer herding

Katie Kazmierski, KNOM – Nome

The Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch outside of Nome, is investing in its future by getting local kids involved in reindeer herding now.