Alaska News Nightly: Monday, Aug. 12, 2019

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Dunleavy reverses potential cuts to senior benefits

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage

Dunleavy told a room of people he was moved to change course on the Senior Benefits Program after hearing input from beneficiaries and their families.

Alaska governor seeks to tighten work rules for food stamps

Associated Press

Governor Dunleavy is seeking to tighten the rules for food stamp recipients.

Environmentalists concerned over changes to Endangered Species Act

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.

The Interior Department today announced it has finalized new rules for carrying out the Endangered Species Act. Secretary David Bernhardt describes the changes as improvements. Environmental groups say the new regulations weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Dunleavy vetoes some funds for marine vessel tracking

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Alaska’s primary provider of real-time marine vessel tracking has lost about a tenth of its funding following a line item veto by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Juneau forum brainstorms ways Native communities can adapt to public service cuts

Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – Juneau

As communities across Alaska react to deep state budget cuts, some Alaska Natives are saying the state can learn from their cultures how to survive hard times. They say Alaska Natives are galvanized to try to prevent the cuts from happening — or to step in to respond if they do.

Forest Service proposes plan changes for young-growth logging on karst lands

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

The U.S. Forest Service has released the draft of an environmental review of a 15-year plan for logging, recreation and stream restoration projects around Wrangell, Petersburg and Kake in Southeast Alaska. The review follows the same approach as a larger project on Prince of Wales Island that’s the center of a legal challenge.

Conservation groups ask DEC to reconsider Palmer Project permits

Claire Stremple, KHNS – Haines

The Palmer Project near Haines received some key permits from the state last month. The project is not a mine yet, but the Constantine Metal Resources company hopes it will be one in the future. Conservation groups say the state hasn’t collected enough information to issue the permits.

As Kenai Peninsula dries out, likelihood for fires increases

Renee Gross, KBBI – Homer

The Kenai Peninsula is drying out and this summer, fires have sprouted up in some unusual places. Scientists warn about this trend: meaning bigger fires and more of them. 

UAF tracks moisture content in firewood

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

It turns out that firewood harvesting can be timed to target lower moisture content. University of Alaska researchers monitor the water content of spruce, and UAF forest ecologist Jessie Young Robertson says there’s a key point when moisture drops dramatically.