New Rule Means Little Immediate Change For The Tongass

The Obama administration last week announced a new planning rule for national forests, and today said the Chugach National Forest will be among the first where the new rule will be used.

Two Rural Alaskans Named To Federal Subsistence Board

Two rural Alaskans have been named to the Federal Subsistence Board. There is currently just one rural member on the board that manages fish and wildlife for subsistence uses on federal public lands and waters.

State Affairs Committee Hears Testimony On Language Bill

The Alaska Senate State Affairs committee heard testimony Tuesday on Senator Donny Olson’s bill to create the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council.

Bill Would Help Preserve Alaska Native Languages

The Alaska Senate State Affairs committee heard testimony Tuesday on Senator Donny Olson’s bill to create an Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council. Annette Evans Smith, the President of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, says the time for action on keeping languages alive is now.

New Oil, Gas Bill Expected By End Of Next Week

The Senate is working on getting final plans in order to have a new oil and gas tax bill before the public by the end of next week. President Gary Stevens has said he has no intention of working with the tax-rewrite bill the governor introduced – and the House passed.

Parnell, Delegation Respond To Possible Military Base Closures

The Parnell administration and all three members of the state’s congressional delegation were quick to respond to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement last week that President Obama will seek another round of military base closures.

ACMP Initiative Verification Marches On

More than 60 percent of signatures collected by the group behind a citizen’s initiative to revive the Alaska Coastal Management Program have been verified by an initial computer review.

Businessman, Statehood Bell Ringer Derr Passes Away

Longtime Juneau businessman and Chamber of Commerce luminary Romer Derr passed away last week at the age of 75. He’s being remembered not just for his efforts to improve Juneau’s economy, but for his participation in the Capital City’s first ever statehood celebration.

Legislature Researching DNR’s Mission Change

Legislators are looking into the Alaska Department of Natural Resources move to change their mission statement. Representative Berta Gardner is the democratic whip in the House representing midtown Anchorage. She says legislators have asked for a research report on the matter.

DNR Proposes Changes to Mission, Legislature to Review

Although it’s not official yet, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has announced its intention to change its mission statement. Recently, administrators quietly removed the words ‘conserve’ and ‘enhance ‘from the statement, leaving only the word ‘develop’ to describe how resources should be managed. They also removed a reference to ‘future Alaskans’. Legislators will soon begin weighing in on the issue.

State Sen. Stevens Says Oil Tax Agreement Most Important This Session

State Senate President Gary Stevens says nothing is more important this legislative session than coming to agreement on oil tax legislation.

Rep. Gara Pushes Against Texting While Driving

Thirty-five states have banned texting while driving – and Alaska thought it had too. But some judges say the law passed in 2008 is not clear, so legislation is on the move that specifically prohibits drivers from reading or typing a text, email or other message while their vehicle is in motion.

Tribal, Federal Representatives Attempt To Solve Sewage System Problems

Residents in a few dozen rural villages in Alaska are still using honey buckets. And with declining federal funds that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. But a group of state, tribal and federal representatives met at a workshop in Anchorage today to try to find innovative solutions to the problem.

Crime Summit Taking Place In Juneau

The Crime Summit meeting in Juneau Wednesday gathered reports and ideas from agencies and outside organizations working in and around the state’s criminal justice system.

Committees Begin Overview Of Budgets

House and Senate Finance Committees have begun their overviews of the budgets Governor Parnell introduced last month.

Alaska Delegation Responds to State of the Union Speech

Alaska’s Congressional delegation appreciated President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address Tuesday night to cut red tape and spur employment, energy development and innovation.

Chenault Renews In-State Gas Line Push

State House Speaker Mike Chenault – a Republican from Nikiski – is renewing his push for a small diameter in-state gas line with a new bill that streamlines previous legislation.

Study Describes North Slope Employment As A Roller Coaster

A new study describes employment on the North Slope as a roller coaster. In a report to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Tuesday, Jim Calvin, President of the McDowell Group, presented the results of a study ordered by the Senate to determine what factors influence jobs in the oil patch.

Senate Opens Crime Summit

The State Senate opened its Crime Summit Tuesday – a series of meetings bringing lawmakers up to date on statistics, trends and options available to the criminal justice system.

Subsistence Board To Review Rural, Non-Rural Status Decision Process

The Federal Subsistence Board last week voted to review the process for deciding a community’s rural or non-rural status, which determines eligibility for subsistence priority on federal lands.