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11/20/14 - BP completes sale of North Slope oil fields, affecting jobs of 475 people

BP sells four oil fields

BP's sale of four North Slope oil fields involves laying off 275 workers and transfer to Hilcorp or early retirement of another 200 people. BP Alaska operations president Janet Weiss says the company will focus on Prudhoe Bay and a major liquefied natural gas project.

U.S. Sen. Begich back in Washington

Sen. Mark Begich conceded that he lost the election, but until Jan. 3, he's still a U.S. Senator and he's back in Washington. He says passage of the U.S. Coast Guard bill is one of his priorities for the lame duck session. The bill calls for expanded activities in the Arctic, and a land trade at Port Clarence aimed at building a deep water Arctic port. Responding to speculation that he's plotting to run against Congressman Don Young or Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Begich says he's not ruling out a return to the nation's capital someday.

U.S. Forest Service slow to change its handling of Tongass National Forest timber harvests

A research firm says the U.S. Forest Service has done little to transition the nation's largest national forest in southeast Alaska to young-growth timber harvests. Headwaters Economics says despite the dwindling Southeast timber industry and a promise by the Forest Service to transition out of old-growth harvests, the agency has continued to generously fund its timber program in the Tongass.

Weatherization saves energy costs, improves safety

As APRN's Anne Hillman reports, the state's weatherization program has been helping families deal with ever-rising energy costs since 1978. This year, RuralCap weatherized 375 structures in Anchorage. It focuses on low-income seniors, disabled people, and families living in houses, trailers, and apartments. The state spends $6,000  to $8,000 per structure making heating systems more efficient, and plugging up holes to keep the heat inside. Weatherization reduces heating costs by 20% to 30%. Some 10% to 15% of the cost goes to safety improvements such as installation of ventilation systems that remove moisture from air in the home and filter contaminants from incoming air, and smoke alarms.