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NOAA issues new guidelines for vessels in glacial fjords

Jul 29, 2015 -- 12:45pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A federal agency has revised voluntary guidelines for cruise ships and other vessels in Alaska's glacial fjords, which provide nurseries for harbor seals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says cruise ships, day boats and charter vessels should stay 500 yards from seals to minimize disturbance. The previous guideline was 100 yards, but the agency says that's inadequate. An agency study published this month concluded that a single ship in a fjord can cause up to 14 percent of seals to leave floes for the water. The agency says pups risk separation from their mothers and increased risk from cold temperatures when flushed into water. Ice floes from tidewater glaciers are available to harbor seals in south-central and southeast Alaska.

Cathay Pacific departs Aleutians after emergency landing

Jul 29, 2015 -- 12:30pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 bound from Hong Kong to Los Angeles has departed from a U.S. air base in the Aleutian Islands, hours after the plane made an emergency landing because of smoke. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says Flight 884 landed early Wednesday morning at Eareckson Air Station in Shemya, Alaska. An Air Force official says the plane left the treeless, tundra-covered island at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday for the 1,500-mile flight to Anchorage. Company spokeswoman Jennifer Pearson says another plane is flying in from Hong Kong to pick up the passengers in Anchorage. Company officials say the goal is to get the 276 passengers and 18 crewmembers to Los Angeles. 

Appeals court reinstates 'Roadless Rule' for Tongass

Jul 29, 2015 -- 12:15pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A divided federal appeals court has affirmed a lower-court decision that would reinstate prohibitions on road-building and timber harvests in roadless areas of the nation's largest national forest. In a 6-5 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not give a reasoned explanation for reversing course and creating a special exemption to the so-called "Roadless Rule" for Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The majority opinion ruled the Tongass exemption invalid. In a dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Milan Smith Jr. wrote that elections have legal consequences. In this case, Smith wrote, the department followed President George W. Bush's policy instructions in amending the Clinton-era Roadless Rule in 2003. Smith argued the department was not "arbitrary and capricious" in making the decision.  

Wrangell doctor found guilty in child pornography case

Jul 29, 2015 -- 12:00pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A former Wrangell doctor has been found guilty of distributing and receiving child pornography. KTOO-FM reports that after an hour and a half of deliberations a U.S. District Court jury found Greg Salard guilty on the two charges Tuesday. A third, lesser charge for possession was set aside since it was dependent on a not guilty verdict for the other charges. Prosecutors say Salard found, downloaded and shared videos that included footage of adult men molesting toddlers. The illegal material was uploaded to the internet through a file-sharing program from a computer registered to Salard. Salard faces an aggravated rape charge in Louisiana, where he will be extradited to after his sentencing in Juneau on Oct. 9. He faces a sentence of 5 to 20 years in prison.

Magnitude-6.3 quake felt by some in Anchorage, Kodiak

Jul 29, 2015 -- 11:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A magnitude-6.3 earthquake has shaken southern Alaska and was felt by some people in Anchorage and Kodiak. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck near Redoubt Volcano on the Kenai Peninsula, 140 miles southwest of Anchorage, at about 6:35 p.m. KTUU reports that people across southcentral Alaska said they felt the quake. A dispatcher at the Anchorage Police Department said they've had no reports of injuries or major damage.

Barge carrying marine debris could reach Seattle by Aug 5

Jul 29, 2015 -- 11:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A barge carrying marine debris collected on Alaska shores could arrive in Seattle for sorting and recycling as early as Aug. 5. That's according to state Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Candice Bressler. Debris that's not recycled will be taken by train to an Oregon disposal site. Bressler says crews Tuesday were expected to finish loading debris collected on Kayak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. Bressler says the barge will then do pickups from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, before setting off for Vancouver, British Columbia. The large-scale barge project is funded in part with $900,000 from Alaska's share of a $5 million gift from the Japanese government for the cleanup of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Crews began loading the barge July 15 in Kodiak.
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