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12/17/14 - President Obama takes oil, gas lease sales in Bristol Bay off the table

Oil and gas leases in Bristol Bay on indefinite hold

President Obama Tuesday took the possibility of oil and gas leasing in Bristol Bay indefinitely off the table, saying it's important to save one of the world's most valuable fisheries for future generations. Life-long commercial fisherman Robin Samuelson praised the decision. The fight to preserve the Bay had gone on for decades, led in early times by his father Harvey Samuelson and now continued by him. The move is considered indefinite, but not permanent. Future executive action or Congress could alter it. The Alaska Oil and Gas Association says the area in question has "not been on the oil industry's radar screen for decades" due to existing moratoriums. AOGA President and CEO Kara Moriarty said the President's action was "confusing," and also serves to "undermine the nation's ability to achieve an all of the above strategy."

Health insurance enrollment period brings Alaskans back, and new enrollees in to enroll

Enroll Alaska says it has signed up about a thousand Alaskans in the first month of the latest open enrollment period. That includes renewals and new sign-ups. Overall enrollment figures are not yet available.

Congress approves $50 million for Ft. Greeley missile defense system

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the funding for the ground-based missile defense system was included in a $1.1 trillion spending plan that passed Congress last weekend. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an effort is underway to increase the number of interceptor missiles at Fort Greeley.

Eyak Native Village Corp. to pay $2.5 million to settle a fraud case

The Alaska Dispatch News reports an official of a subsidiary of the Eyak Alaska Native Village Corp. was convicted of accepting kickback from contractors. The corporation also submitted bills for work that was never performed.