Alaska News Roundup for May 21

  • Tensions have escalated between the US Navy and Cordova over the Navy’s intent to use bombs, potentially toxic waste, and high-power sonar during this summer’s exercises because of the potential for detrimental affect on procreating critical marine life. The Cordova Times reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski will be sending a staffer to facilitate the problem on Memorial Day. As to the worry about exploding bombs, Sen. Murkowski said, “If there are fishermen in one area, they would move to another area.”
  • The Dispatch wonders if raiding the Permanent Fund is the solution to the senate and house majority’s inability to work for a budget solution.
  • Homer scientist, Martin Renner, lead a mapping project to discover where in Alaska oil spills would be the most detrimental to seabirds. The biggest surprises Renner shared with APRN were Unimak Pass and Sand Point.


    Seabird Density Mapping Tool/Photo Credit of Shady Grove Oliver

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill for six HEAVY icebreakers for the US Coast Guard.
  • Intercept and CBC News published documents that show the NSA had plans to hijack smart phone apps to further their spying program on US citizens with a project code-name of “IRRITANT HORN.”
  • Gov. Bill Walker’s now-former Director of Boards and Commissions resigned over the intended appointment of Bobbi Quintavell to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. The governor’s administration claims it never happened and that it was their intention all along to appoint Bob Mumford to the vacant seat. The Peninsula Clarion has the gossip and timeline.
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  • Alaska (and 30 other states) won a settlement against the three largest credit reporting agencies in the US over information reporting practices, level of data scrutiny of information provided by outside sources and timeliness on fixing incorrect information, per US News.
  • Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner offers his explanation of  the accounting dexterity being proposed by the house and senate majorities to raid the Permanent Fund.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan joined a group of bipartisan senators to denounce China’s construction on islands that are claimed by several other countries. He told The Hill, “as one the world’s key conduits of energy – nearly one-third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year – it is imperative that this region remain peaceful and free of conflict.”
  • The Sitka School Board developed a working plan for FY17 with the hopes that the state legislature regains some “sanity” and figure things out, per KCAW.
  • The Fairbanks North Star Borough is expected to pass a resolution in support of selling FNG to the state, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • The NSA has authorized the steps to close down operations of its controversial program of spying on American citizens’ phone calls as The Hill reports that Congress is unlikely to reach a deal to maintain program funding.
  • APRN reports that the White House is planning on vetoing Rep. Don Young’s bill that would alter the Magnuson Stevens Act, which is up for renewal.
  • Obama talked about climate change and the lack of time there is to correct the levels of pollution during a speech to US Coast Guard Academy graduates. Politico relays what the president spoke about and how it was seen by some as hypocritical since this came about a week after he opened the Arctic Coast to offshore drilling.
  • The ACLU has come out against Anchorage’s proposed alcohol sales restriction claiming it is illegal under Alaska state law, Title 47.
  • Slate has an interesting article about Rhodiola rosea, possibly Alaska’s next cash crop.

    Cash Crop

    A different type of Green Rush?


  • Erin Merryn, the advocate behind Erin’s Law, is upset with the current language in Alaska’s version of the sexual abuse prevention bill and the Dispatch explains why, what changes have been made and by whom.
  • First Lady Donna Walker told the Juneau Empire her plans to bring Bridge Builders to Juneau.



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