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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 31, 2007

Front Page Photo by Kage Zink

The Great Pumpkin
Charlie Brown (Cooper McLaren) preparing to kick the football held by Lucy (Crysta Davis) for the Point Higgins 6th grade production of "The Great Pumpkin" based on the comic strip by Charles Schultz. Performance will be Wednesday at 1:15 at the Point Higgins MSR.
Front Page Photo by 6th grader Kage Zink

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Alaska: Alaska Natives Call on Congress to Protect Native Cultures from Impacts of Oil and Gas Development in Northern Alaska - Alaska Natives from the Native Village of Point Hope and the community of Nuiqsut gathered in Washington, D.C. on October 24th to voice their opposition to oil and gas development in key Native subsistence lands and waters in America's Arctic. Close to one year after the first BP oversight hearing in the Senate, these Alaska Natives reinforced the need for Congress to address this administration's headlong leasing of key Native subsistence lands for oil drilling, as well as new concerns regarding the compounding effects of climate change on the future of the Native subsistence cultures in Alaska.

The briefing was to provide Alaska Native people with the opportunity to voice their concerns about the threats that oil and gas development pose to the future of their cultural traditions said Cindy Shogan, moderator and Executive Director of Alaska Wilderness League. "Again, this presents Congress with a real opportunity to preserve what remains of the Alaskan Native cultures in northern Alaska. It is our hope that Congress will protect these cultures rather than let them remain at the mercy of this 'drill-it-all' administration."

"We are concerned in Point Hope that as offshore seismic surveys continue, the animals we hunt and follow through the seasons are frightened and slowly disappearing from our shores, hurting my people's ability to survive and continue our subsistence traditions and our way of life," said Earl Kingik, subsistence user and representative for the Tribal Council of the Native Village of Point Hope. "We have passed a resolution that opposes all oil and gas activities on and offshore."

"Human health effects from oil and gas development continue to rise with higher numbers of asthma-related illnesses in my village of Nuiqsut, where the Alpine oil fields are just 4 miles away," said Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, former Mayor of the City of Nuiqsut, community healthcare practitioner and board member of the Inupiat Community of Arctic Slope (ICAS). "We are worried about these continuing health issues and the lack of help to address the long-term impacts they pose to our people. As we said last year, we say again, we oppose opening the Teshekpuk Lake area to oil and gas development. ICAS passed a resolution two weeks ago which states we oppose development in Teshekpuk Lake."

"As a member of the next generation of subsistence whalers and hunters, I'm seeing the effects of climate change in all I do," said Elijah Lane, a member of the Native Village of Point Hope and Director of its Parks and Wildlife Department. "I have seen the erosion and the disappearing ice in the Chukchi Sea. I have seen the changes in the migrations of animals on the land and in the water as a result of climate change in Alaska." - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

Alaska: BP Pleads Guilty To Clean Water Act Violations in Alaska - British Petroleum Exploration (Alaska ), Inc., (BPXA) agreed on October 25th to plead guilty to a violation of the Clean Water Act to resolve its criminal liability relating to pipeline leaks of crude oil onto the tundra as well as a frozen lake in Alaska.

As part of the guilty plea BPXA has agreed to pay a $12 million criminal fine, $4 million in community service payments to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for the purpose of conducting research and activities in support of the arctic environment in the state of Alaska on the North Slope, and $4 million in criminal restitution to the state of Alaska, and serve three years of probation.

The Justice Department and State of Alaska have agreed not to bring further criminal charges against BPXA in connection with the March and August 2006 spills.

This investigation involved two different leaks from oil transit lines (OTLs) operated by BPXA. The leaks occurred in March and August of 2006, and were the result of BPXA's failure to heed many red flags and warning signs of imminent internal corrosion that a reasonable operator should have recognized. The first pipeline leak, discovered by a worker on March 2, 2006, resulted in more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil spreading over the tundra and reaching a nearby frozen lake, where oil spread out onto the ice along one shore. This spill was the largest spill to ever occur on the North Slope.

The second leak occurred in August of 2006, but was quickly discovered and contained after leaking approximately 1,000 gallons of oil. Nevertheless, the second leak led to the shut down of Prudhoe Bay oil production on the eastern side of the field. BPXA shut down production because it could not guarantee the condition of the line and whether it was fit for service.

The leak and the resulting 4,800 barrel spill impacted 1.9 acres and is the largest oil spill to ever occur at Prudhoe Bay. The plea agreement acknowledges that BPXA promptly and thoroughly cleaned up the discharged oil. No lasting harm to the surrounding environment is expected.

"This leak, and the spill that resulted from it, revealed a significant gap in our corrosion management program -- a gap that existed because our approach to assessing and managing corrosion risk in these lines was not robust or systematic enough," said BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone.

"We regret that our monitoring of these lines did not meet the expectations of the State of Alaska and the U.S. government," Malone said. "Since this incident we have worked with state and federal regulators to ensure the safe, reliable operation of critical Prudhoe Bay pipelines which deliver processed oil to the Trans Alaska Pipeline."

Following the March spill, BPXA said they worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation to make periodic maintenance and smart pigging part of BPXA's oil transit line corrosion inspection, monitoring and inhibition program.

BPXA said replacement of the 16-mile Prudhoe Bay oil transit line system will be completed in 2008. BPXA began construction of the $250 million project in early 2007. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007


National: Survey: On most issues, Democrats are favored By KEVIN CROWE and GUIDO H. STEMPEL III - More Americans trust Democrats rather than Republicans to handle the war in Iraq, to balance the federal budget and to craft federal policies on thorny issues like abortion and illegal immigration.

Republicans have hit such hard times with most of the American public that they are losing against Democrats on many of the GOP's historical core issues, according to a national survey of 811 adult residents of the United States conducted by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University.

The survey asked people from all walks of life whether they thought Republicans or Democrats were more capable of dealing with 11 national and international issues. Democrats came away with the lead in 10 out of 11 areas, with the issue of military preparedness being the single Republican strength.

"The Republicans don't have a lot going for them in terms of issues," concluded Rudy Teixeira, a joint fellow of the Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress and author of "The Emerging Democratic Majority."

Teixeira attributed Americans' faith in Democrats on illegal immigration to the recent failing of an immigration-reform bill, which President Bush supported. "Above all, (Republicans) just seem ineffective," he said.

On the issue of how to handle the federal deficit -- typically considered a conservative issue -- 36 percent said Democrats are better equipped to achieve fiscal responsibility while 25 percent sided with Republicans.

"That was one major concern, that Republicans had lapsed on fiscal stewardship," said Alison Fraser, director of economic-policy studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Fraser pointed in part to a combination of pork-barrel spending and the high cost of the Medicare prescription-drug benefit as a cause of Republicans' fall from grace in the realm of fiscal responsibility.

"Over the last 10 years, the amount of earmarks has risen substantially," she said. "And it wasn't supposed to be that way."

For each issue, at least 20 percent of the respondents said they thought neither party was capable of handling the problem.

"It's clear to me that, at large, Americans are very hesitant to trust Congress in general," Fraser said.

The Democrats' advantage over the Republicans varied from 32 percentage points on hunger and 27 percentage points on health care to 5 percentage points on immigration.

On the Iraq war, 35 percent said the Democrats could handle it best, while 26 percent said the Republicans, 27 percent said neither and 12 percent didn't know or had a similar response. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007



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Basic Rules

letter Bus stop problems By Carrie Mueller - I ride the bus to and from the library bus stop every day of the work week with my 4 1/2 month old son. I can't even count how many times we have had to stand in the wind and rain to get away from the homeless people that sleep there because they are smoking and coughing all over the place. I refuse to subject my infant son to the smoke and uncleanliness that they bring to the bus stop. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letter Professionalism/ Common Courtesy By Jim Lowell - Having just retired from the US Navy "SeaBees" in July 2007, I had been job hunting for 6 months prior, trying to make sure I had a job I could immediately start after retirement. Oh, I had my share of rejections, and even turned down a job back home in Ketchikan (now I regret it!!!) - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letter Landless By Vernon Grant - I agree, Sealaska has an announcement on their website: Bill to Fulfill ANCSA Land Entitlement Introduced in Congress. - More...
Wednesday AM - October 31, 2007

letterSchoenbar Music Fundraiser By Doug Edwards - Last Friday night I had the privilege to attend the Schoenbar Music's dinner fundraiser. What a great time it was...good food and excellent entertainment. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007

letter Bus Stop Benches By Paul Ripplinger - I can not believe someone would stoop to removing the benches from the bus stop at the library or any bus stop! Why don't you get rid of all bus stops! The only thing you did was make it more inconvenient for the people that need the benches! I may not have the right answer but removing the benches was far from being good. Drunks, homeless, and perverts will just find other places to camp out. (Other bus stops?) - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007

letter KETCHIKAN SKIING By Pete Ellis - As Craig Moen indicates there are ski areas on the island and, in even more ancient times, there were even more locations. At one time we had a ski area on the Perseverance Trail complete with a ski tow hauled in and set up with Frank Klepser having been the principal motivator for that endeavor. Long before that and near the top of Deer Mountain there was a ski lodge built by some earlier local pioneers who hauled the lodge material all the way up the mountain in order to take advantage of those slopes. Unfortunately it burned to the ground and was never re-built but it must have been a major undertaking and challenging source of winter recreation. The remains of the lodge are still visible in the summers when the snow has disappeared and in the area that now serves as a lookout over the channel prior to a climb on up to the top. I have never seen any pictures but presumably some exist and should be located. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Landless in Ketchikan By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - The Sealaska Corporation newsletter sent October, 2007. Southeast Alaska Lands Bill: Fulfillment of a Promise to Alaska Natives: Good for the Economies, Good for the Environment story. The U.S. Government owes Sealaska Corporation 85,000 acres of land to fulfill their obligation to Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). The act promised that the Native people of Southeast Alaska would gain ownership of productive, culturally significant lands. With that said. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Oil tax debate fault lines wide By Sen. Kim Elton - I've yet to see a multi-national oil and gas company operating in Alaska more interested in our bottom line than their bottom line. That's why I'm a bit of a skeptic when I hear them urge us: 1) to cut or freeze oil taxes right now; so 2) they'll invest more; with 3) the ephemeral promise state revenues bump up later. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Burman's Bears By Rhonda Bolling - I wholeheartedly agree with Penny and Marty's comments on the Burman Bears story. What a fun read! Thank you Heidi Ekstrand for submitting this for us all to read. I was actually very impressed with Dr. Burman's wit and creative knack for story-telling as well. I think Outdoor Life or Outdoor Sportsman (or another big magazine) should pick this story up. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Burman's Bears By Kim Murray -Excellent story by my old friend Heidi. I always enjoy the articles on Sitnews and it's even better when written by someone you know. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Being Alaskan Native, My Philsophy By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr. - This is my philosophy of life on being an Alaskan Native. Life is nothing but choices of whom you are and going to be. There are leaders, managers and followers. Real Native leaders are willing to take risks and cross the line on important issues that affect his or her family, clan and tribe. Managers usually won't take risks. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letterPolar Bears and Global Warming By Matt Reid - Polar bears are suffering from global warming although it is hard to see now.Steve Amstrup, a polar bear biologist is from Alaska, and probably does not want the light to show on his studies but they are shining bright and you should all read them - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

letter Soap box By Amber Williams-Baldwin - Yes, young kids do stupid stuff. But who do you think they learned it from.. or lack of learning it from? I always like to think that kids reflect their parents. So you know the hot headed football player you hated, the pretty blonde who was always better then you complex etc... these are their kids! Or that's what I like to think anyway. - More...
Sunday PM - October 28, 2007

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The Borough Assembly on Monday night, Oct 15th considered a motion to begin foreclosure on RKG immediately. The Assembly voted 5-1 Monday evening to postpone the vote until November 5, 2007...
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Should the Borough foreclose as quickly as possible on RKG/Jerry Jenkins if he does not pay the $9 million and back interest owed by November 4, 2007 as promised or should the Borough agree to give Renaissance Ketchikan Group/Jerry Jenkins more time, such as the January 4, 2008 target date recommended by the Borough attorney and Finance director?

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