Alaska News Nightly: June 3, 2011

Fuel Prices to Rise in Bethel, Lawmakers Scramble as Coastal Management Program Begins Shutdown, Washington DC Turns Attention to Alaska’s Other Minerals, an Iditarod Veteran Missing in Talkeetna, and more...

Lawmakers Scramble as Coastal Management Program Begins Shutdown

The shutdown of Alaska’s Coastal Management Program is underway, even as some lawmakers continue to work behind the scenes to save it. Employees with the Division of Coastal and Ocean Management received layoff notices on Thursday. That followed letters on Tuesday to coastal districts and state agencies that participate in the program, informing them their federal grants had been terminated.

Washington DC Turns Attention to Alaska’s Other Minerals

Alaska is often mentioned as rich in oil and gas and deposits of gold, but today in Washington, the state’s potential for mining of rare earth elements took center stage. The valuable minerals are used in all sorts of industries, and Congress wants the U.S. to start producing more.

Governor Parnell Wants Changes to Oil-Taxes; Wildfires Sweep Through the Interior; and Joe Miller’s Sea Voyage

This week, they will take a closer look at Governor Parnell's call for changes to Alaska's oil-taxes; wildfires striking Interior Alaska, Joe Miller's upcoming sea voyage; an update on the Coastal Zone Management Program; Sarah Palin visits historical sites on her way to New Hampshire; parking enforcement changes in Anchorage; reapportionment in the Legislature; Pete Kott may need to return for a new trial; and what surprises may be revealed with the release of Sarah Palin's emails.

Anti-Pebble Ballot Measure Gains Certification

A ballot measure to stop any mining activity that damages salmon streams in the Lake and Peninsula Borough has been certified to be put before the voters. Owners of the Pebble mining claims have asked the courts to over-rule the certification, saying it would unconstitutionally restrict the powers of the Borough government.

Alaska News Nightly: June 2, 2011

Natural Resources Commissioner Educates Washington DC About Alaska, Abuse Victims Take Case to Federal Court, Fire Risk in Fairbanks Decreases, Weather May Help Fight Hastings Wildfire, and more...

Natural Resources Commissioner Educates Washington DC About Alaska

Alaska’s Commissioner of the Natural Resources Department was in the nation’s capital today, playing a role very familiar with Alaskan politicos: educating Washington about home.

Head of Alaska Coast Guard Tours the Arctic

The retreating ice has increased traffic in the Arctic Ocean raising the need for the Coast Guard to look at improving its oversight and rescue capabilities in the region. Tuesday, Admiral Tom Osteobo, head of Alaska’s Coast Guard operations, headed north on a C-130 with media in tow, to take a look around.

Legislation Would Allow Medicare-Eligible Elders to Negotiate Private Contracts with Doctors

Medicare eligible-elders would be able to negotiate private contracts with doctors under new legislation proposed by Senator Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski says Senate Bill 1042 called the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act would allow patients to see any physician they choose, even if that doctor has opted out of taking Medicare patients.

Interior Department Will Not Designate Public Lands as ‘Wild Lands’

The Interior Department is backing away from a plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the west eligible for federal wilderness protection. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the announcement in a memo today to the director of the Bureau of Land Management.

Getting Offshore Oil, Gas Rigs to Cook Inlet Proving Difficult

Efforts to get an offshore oil and gas drilling rig up to Cook Inlet continue to run into snags. One has made it as far as Canada, but it's not clear what it going to happen to it next.

Young Says Politicians Heading in Wrong Direction to Solve Fiscal Problems

Alaska’s Congressman Don Young says he applauds last night’s stand in the U.S. House not to raise the debt limit until the nation’s budget problems are dealt with, but he says politicians – including Republicans – are going about solving the fiscal woes all wrong.

Obamas Pick for Commerce Department Head Draws Fire from Murkowski

The President’s new pick to head the Commerce Department, John Bryson, quickly drew fire from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. Bryson was head of the largest utility in the U.S., but what Murkowski objects to is the fact that he was one of the founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Young Votes Against Raising Debt Ceiling

Alaska Representative Don Young voted last night with the rest of U.S. House Republicans against raising the debt ceiling. But he’s skipping a meeting this morning between the House GOP and the President to talk over debt and the budget. His staff did not give a reason.

Congressional Issues with Senator Mark Begich

Alaska’s future role in Missile Defense, the treatment of our veterans, the federal role in oil and gas development and coastal zone management are among the issues Senator Mark Begich has been working on.

Anchorage’s Police Department Extends Deadline

This fall the Anchorage Police Department will hold its an officer training academy. It’s been a couple of years since the last one and the time lapse has in part prompted the department to lengthen the application period.

Top VA Official Visits Rural Alaska

The top official from the Department of Veterans Affairs spent Memorial Day afternoon in Rural Alaska. Secretary Eric Shinseki traveled to the Bering Sea Village of Kwigillingok to get a better understanding of what it will take to care for veterans in the remote reaches of Alaska.

Court Issues Final Judgement on Reinstating Roadless Protections

A federal court has issued its final judgment for reinstating roadless protections for the Tongass National Forest. It overturns an exemption put in place by the Forest Service under the administration of George W. Bush.

TSA Official Meeting With Alaska Social Service Providers

Wednesday, an official from the Transportation Security Administration will meet with Alaska social service providers in an effort to find ways to make airport security procedures less intrusive and traumatic. The TSA is responding to prodding from Senator Mark Begich, who has called TSA officials on the carpet a few times in Washington.

Alaska News Nightly: May 31, 2011

Fire North of Fairbanks Draws Big Response, Top VA Official Visits Rural Alaska, Petersburg Coast Guard Commander Temporarily Relieved of Duty, Court Issues Final Judgement on Reinstating Roadless Protections, and more...