12/22/14 - High-speed Internet service to Northwest Alaska delayed
Construction of cables under Arctic waters between England and Japan, and overland from Prudhoe to Anchorage inching forward
An ambitious project that involves laying cable beneath Arctic waters between England and Japan -- and in the process bring high-speed Internet to remote corners of western Alaska -- has seen delays that push the project back to 2016, and perhaps later. As KNOM's Matthew Smith reports, the biggest part of the underwater cable lies ahead. Meanwhile an overland cable from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks and Anchorage has faced several delays. Local companies, TelAlaska and Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, have invested millions of dollars to bring service the final miles into homes and businesses.
Controversial KSM Mine near Southeast Alaska gets Canadian federal go-ahead
The Kerr-Sulphuretts-Mitchell project has received both the British Columbia provincial and Canadian federal governments approvals, and 100 of the 150 necessary permits. It's also seeking investors to develop the proposed $5.3 billion mine. The KSM is a copper, gold, and silver deposit upstream of two rivers that enter the ocean with about 50 miles of Ketchikan. Southeast Alaska fisheries, tribal, and environmental groups oppose development, saying the mine could pollute the rivers and harm salmon and those who eat them. Opponents are asking the Obama administration to pressure Canada to use more stringent permitting standards. They're also pressing British Columbia to give the project a higher level of review.
Gov. Bill Walker names new Commissioner of Labor
Governor Bill Walker has named Heidi Drygas to be state labor Commissioner. Drygas previously served as general counsel for the Alaska District Council of Laborers.