Alaska News Nightly: April 29, 2008

Conservation groups celebrate yesterday’s ruling by a federal judge ordering a quick decision on listing Polar bears as an endangered species.  Also, President Bush pushes for ANWR drilling and a toddler in Ft. Yukon is mauled and killed by a dog. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Conservation groups celebrate ruling on Polar Bear status

Joel Southern, APRN – Anchorage
Three conservation groups are claiming victory after a federal judge ruled late yesterday that the Bush Administration must decide in the next two weeks whether to put polar bears on the ‘threatened species’ list due to the effects climate change is having on their sea ice habitat.

Juneau electricity crisis more than a local problem
Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau
Juneau’s huge power-cost jump could have statewide impacts. The capital city’s electric rate is part of the Power-Cost Equalization program formula. That means subsidies to rural residents could be affected.

President pushes for ANWR drilling

David Shurtleff, APRN – Anchorage
President Bush called on Congress today to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration.

Fort Yukon toddler mauled to death by dog

Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Fort Yukon police department isn’t releasing the boy’s name yet.  Officer Chris Inderrieden  says the little boy approached the nearby dog yesterday afternoon. He says the dog was chained up at the time.  He says Fort Yukon police are investigating the attack, and are working with the District Attorney’s office.  But he says it’s doubtful that criminal charges will be filed against the dog owner.

Former Fairbanks mayor to be sentenced Friday
Libby Casey, KUAC – Fairbanks
Sentencing recommendations are out in the cases of former Fairbanks mayor Jim Hayes and his wife Chris Hayes. The couple will be sentenced on Friday for misusing federal grant money that was supposed to pay for a community charity for disadvantaged kids.

Public lands bill clears US House
Joel Southern, APRN – Anchorage
The US House today gave final congressional approval to a package of more than 60 public lands and territories bills that includes a couple of measures affecting Alaska. That measure authorizes a land exchange inside Denali so the Alaska Railroad can build a turnaround. The turnaround will make train traffic to the south and north of the park more efficient. The state legislature will have to take some action to finalize the plan

UA land grant bill gets court OK
Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau
The latest version of the university of Alaska land grant bill has withstood a court challenge. Meanwhile, the transfer of land is already underway.

Soil clean up to continue at Ft Wainwright

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The Army is entering a second full season of a hazardous waste investigation and clean up around new housing at Ft.Wainwright. Contractors completing the 110 unit Taku  Gardens complex discovered drums in the soil in 2006.  That halted work and triggered a major investigation and remediation effort. Last year more than 1800 tons of PCB tainted soils were excavated from the site.  The soil was shipped to Oregon for remediation.  More tainted dirt will be shipped out this summer.

Moose hunting moratorium begins to show results

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel
A moose count on the Lower Kuskokwim River is showing local residents that giving the animals a break from hunting, is paying off.

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