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bristol bay

Thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest — commercial fishermen, their crews, sport fishermen, seafood processors, even many boat builders — depend on wild salmon caught every summer in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The Trump administration has re-started permitting for a controversial mining project there — and locals are gearing up to fight it.

Jan. 13, 2016

Report Finds No Wrongdoing in EPA Study of Pebble Mine

By the Associated Press

A watchdog agency has found no evidence of bias in how the Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study on the potential effects of large-scale mining on a world-premiere salmon fishery in Alaska's Bristol Bay region. The inspector general for the EPA also found no evidence that the agency predetermined the study's outcome. Pebble is challenging the EPA's role in federal court.

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Twice as many Alaskans enrolled for health insurance as last month

The federal government said about 16 thousand Alaskans have signed up for health insurance on healthcare.gov since open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That's about 3,000 more than signed up during the initial 6-month open enrollment period, and half of them are renewals.

Regional Health and Human Services director Susan Johnson, said 16,000 is “huge."

Oil and gas leases in Bristol Bay on indefinite hold

U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland Monday put a temporary hold on the EPA's 404(c) process on the Pebble Mine, a process that allows EPA to restrict or prohibit projects that could have adverse effects on fishery areas. EPA's February decision to initiate the process was based on a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment it completed in January.

The Pebble Limited Partnership contends that while EPA was developing that assessment, it violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which ensures advisory committees are objective and accessible to the public.

Advertising time went for as much as $35,000 for a 30-second spot during the NFL game

More than $57 million was spent on Alaska's U.S. Senate race. Of that $17 was spent came out  of candidates campaign chests. The rest was spent by PACs, and of that, about a third went out of state for Internet ads, robocalls, and mailers. Most of the rest went to local television stations. Stations are required to give candidates their lowest rates. For instance, one candidate paid $450 for a 30-second spot on Anchorage TV news.

Pollsters are closely watching races in a few states to see whether Democrats are going to hang on to their majority in the U.S. Senate. In Alaska, incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, was behind Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in the polls by some five points until last week when Begich pulled ahead by a few points.

Hundreds of people turned out in Anchorage Tuesday to comment on a proposal that would severely restrict development of the massive gold-and-copper Pebble mine in the Bristol Bay region Opponents of the mine say it poses to great a threat to salmon. Others say the project should be allowed to move through the permitting process before any action is taken to curtail development.

The herring fish roe fishery opened in Bristol Bay Sunday.

Even though recent inspections showed no problems, the Skagway ferry dock sank last week, leaving the small Southeast Alaska town without ferry service for two weeks while state officials try to figure out what happened.

The Senate Finance Committee's $2.1 billion budget includes $145 million for a new heating system for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and $2.1 for a road linking King Cove to Cold Bay. It doesn't include $10 million for the Susitna dam project that Administration was seeking.

Some subsistence fishermen are calling for a temporary halt to fishing on the Yukon River after the state has forecast abysmal returns of king salmon.