Alaska News Nightly: January 23, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.

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Alaska Legislature Faces First Budget Deficit

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

For the first time in nearly a decade, the state legislature is in a position where it could have to spend more money than it takes in. Fiscal analyst David Teal spoke before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, and he says that it’s an unusual position for the state.

 Tsunami Debris Docks are Unique Opportunity for Scientists

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

Tsunami debris from Japan is fouling shorelines all along the west coast of the United States. It’s also providing a unique research opportunity for scientists studying invasive species. At the Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage this week, Oregon State University associate professor Jessica Miller gave an update on her research work on the two massive docks that washed up in Oregon and Washington last year.

Agency Proposes Recovery Plan For Rare Right Whale

The Associated Press

Federal marine mammal authorities have proposed a recovery plan for a rare large whale, the North Pacific right whale.

The National Marine Fisheries Service published the proposal today for the marine mammal that has been listed as endangered since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973.

Right whales were decimated by whalers. Adults reach 45 to 55 feet and whalers found them to be desirable prey because they’re slow and buoyant after they’re killed.

Only about 30 right whales remain in U.S. waters. There are an estimated 900 that swim off Russia, Japan and China.

The Center for Biological Diversity in March gave a 60-day notice that it would sue if a recovery plan was not developed.

The agency in April agreed to prepare the plan.

Commissioner Apologizes For Lack Of Communication In Alaska Class Ferry Plan

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – CoastAlaska

Transportation Commissioner Pat Kemp on Tuesday apologized for keeping the Marine Highway Advisory Board out of the loop on the Alaska Class Ferry. He and his staff also released a few more details on the vessel’s proposed replacements.

Parnell Urges Mining Students To Follow Their Passions

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

More than 50 high school students taking an “Intro to Mining Occupations” course through the University of Alaska Southeast had quite the guest speaker on the first day of class Tuesday.

Governor Sean Parnell urged them to follow their passions, whether they end up working in the mining industry or not.

UAF Moves Forward With Power, Heating Plant Replacement Plan

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is pushing ahead with a plan to replace its aging power and heating plant.  The current facility, built in 1962, will be replaced with one that still primarily relies on coal, but can also burn other fuels, including biomass and natural gas.

Former Reporter Rips Reporters For Lack Of Climate Change Coverage

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

A former national reporter has jumped ship from covering the news to being part of it. Wen Stephenson who wrote for the Boston Globe, The Atlantic and NPR says he’s lost patience with the lack of progress on climate change legislation. He wrote an online article earlier this winter taking reporters to task for not covering climate change as a crisis. He says when he does see coverage on climate, it’s very narrowly focused.

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