The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Bill Johnson for Alaska House

News Briefs

 

Valdez Star photo

The United States Coast Guard simulating a medevac from the water to the air with crews from Station Valdez and a MH-60 Jayhawk out of Kodiak.

Rain not bad

Rain in Valdez was less than an inch for last week.

The weekly rainfall for the June 5-11, was .81 inches according to Eric Cooper of the Valdez Avalanche Center.

Last week, .9 inches was recorded for the Valdez area.

The season total is since January 1 is 20.32 inches.

Unsafe boating

(AP) A report by the U.S. Coast Guard shows that fatal recreational-boating accidents in Alaska have doubled over the last year.

There were 14 fatal boating wrecks that killed 19 people in Alaska in 2016, the Ketchikan Daily news reported.

That's seven more boating accidents and 12 more fatalities than reported in the state in 2015.

Four of the fatal 2016 accidents took place in southeast Alaska, the Alaska Public Information Office said.

The number of recreational-boating accidents has increased nationwide over the past year, according to the Coast Guard's "2016 Recreational Boating Statistics" report.

Overall, there were 701 recreational-boating related deaths in the country in 2016, compared to the 626 deaths in 2015 and 610 deaths in 2014. The report found that the 2016 accidents caused $49 million in property damage.

Other states with a high number of boating-related fatalities include Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

Alcohol was the leading known contributing factor of the accidents across the United States, the report stated.

Coast Guard officials said boating-safety classes and vessel-safety checks resources are available.

Land dispute

(AP) The state and an Alaska Native regional corporation hope to finalize a settlement later this summer in a long-running land access dispute.

Attorneys for the state and Ahtna Inc., in a court filing last Tuesday, said they hoped to finalize a settlement within 90 days. Part of that time would be used for public comment.

The dispute centers on access along a road leading from Copper Center to Klutina Lake. Ahtna has said the road traverses undeveloped Ahtna land.

Last year, a Superior Court judge handed Ahtna a partial victory, saying the state's right-of-way claims were too far-reaching.

Attorney General Jahna (JON'-uh) Lindemuth has said the public will have a chance to comment once an agreement is reached and the state will consider the comments in deciding its next steps.

Real ID delay

(AP) The state of Alaska expects a reprieve from the federal government as it prepares to comply with national proof-of-identity standards.

The Legislature last month approved allowing the state to issue licenses compliant with the federal REAL ID law. State law previously barred agencies from spending money to help implement the law, which some legislators saw as overreaching.

Alaska had gotten extensions to comply with the federal law, the most recent of which expired Tuesday.

Alaska is seeking an additional extension to allow it to take the steps needed to offer compliant IDs. Walker spokesman Jonathon Taylor says the state has been assured it will receive one.

Alaska is one of several states currently covered by a temporary grace period during which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is delaying enforcement.

Volcano alert

(AP) The Alaska Volcano Observatory has raised its flight-warning system to the highest level after Bogoslof (BOH-gohs-lawf) Volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupted on Saturday morning.

An eruption cloud 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) high has been observed in satellite data and lightning has been detected. Ash can harm and stop jet engines.

Ash from southwest Alaska volcanos is a threat to airliners operating between North America and Asia when a cloud rises above 20,000 feet (6,096 meters).

The observatory's Volcano Alert Level remained at warning Saturday morning as a continuous seismic tremor was ongoing.

Bogoslof has been erupting periodically since mid-December. The volcano is 850 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Name change

(AP) Tesoro Corporation will change its name to Andeavor after acquiring the oil refiner and marketer Western Refining in a $4.1 billion deal.

The deal closed Thursday and will double Tesoro's nationwide workforce to 13,000 employees.

Tesoro Government and Public Affairs Manager Kate Blair said the change won't affect the 225 employees at the Nikiski refinery.

Andeavor will have 10 refineries located in Alaska, California, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington, with the capacity to refine 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, the Peninsula Clarion reported (http://bit.ly/2sSjwl5 ).

Steve Revis photo

The pair of swans that were nesting at the site along the Richardson Highway abandoned the nest last week. Rising waters from the Lowe River showed the nest site nearly under water this week.

Blair said the Nikiski refinery has a capacity of about 72,000 barrels per day.

Following the multibillion-dollar acquisition, Andeavor will own more than 3,000 nationwide gas stations and convenience stores.

"The name change and logo change and identity change are a corporate change," Blair said. "We currently market fuel under many different brands across the United States - Arco, Shell, Exxon, and Mobil. So we will continue to sell under the Tesoro brand."

The name change will go into effect August 1.

Blair said the name Andeavor is meant to resemble "endeavor" and convey a dynamic impression of the company.

 

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