Oral arguments given in Alaska sea lion lawsuit

ANCHORAGE — Lawyers for Alaska and the federal government squared off Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by the state opposing protection of endangered Steller sea lions through commercial fishing restrictions around the western Aleutian Islands.

The state and seafood organizations contend the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to follow correct procedures and lacked scientific support for concluding that fishing must be curtailed because sea lions are nutritionally stressed. NMFS says it acted properly.

Environmental groups represented by Earthjustice intervened on behalf of NMFS.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court was prompted after NMFS announced that commercial mackerel and cod fisheries in the western Aleutians would be restricted.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess took the matter under advisement, and said he would act as soon as possible.

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Ketchikan theater named for Elizabeth Peratrovich

KETCHIKAN — Elizabeth Peratrovich’s name now stands over the theater in the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, placed there by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood and revealed in an emotional ceremony on Thursday.

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Waste not: Ferries’ flushing bill wins Senate support, 16-2

The Alaska Senate voted 16-2 Friday to cut a break in the state’s environmental regulations for small cruise ships and the Alaska Marine Highway.

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Kenai Peninsula pot businesses may add $5M boost to economy

KENAI — With several marijuana businesses up and running on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, industry estimates show the businesses could contribute $5.3 million annually to the local economy.

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