Alaska Digest

Wire Reports

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2006

Search fails to find whale tangled in fishing line

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GLACIER BAY - A search Wednesday failed to find a young humpback whale tangled in the lines of a crab pot in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

"We had a plane out all morning, had good flying conditions and we felt we would have seen the whale with the buoys attached if it was out there, but didn't see it," said Chuck Young, chief ranger at the national park in Southeast Alaska.

The search was expected to continue Thursday.

The whale was followed for about nine hours Tuesday before crews quit trying to cut the line.

It's possible that the whale shook off the gear. Young said there is evidence, such as finding whales with old rope scars, that they can sometimes free themselves.

Little is known about the survivability of entangled whales, Young said.

House votes to keep 90-day public review of natural-gas contract

JUNEAU - The Alaska House on Wednesday affirmed its vote to extend to 90 days the public comment period for a proposed natural-gas contract between Gov. Frank Murkowski and the state's three largest oil companies.

The Senate later rejected the bill on a 4-12 vote.

On Tuesday, the House voted to extend the public review and comment period from a minimum of 30 days to 90 days. The provision was included in a bill that gives the Alaska Supreme Court jurisdiction over lawsuits arising from disputes over the contract.

The Senate's rejection means that if the House doesn't rescind its amendments, the House and Senate will form a conference committee to attempt a compromise.

Clouds frustrate search for missing climbers on Mount Foraker

ANCHORAGE - Cloudy weather kept a high altitude helicopter on the ground Wednesday, frustrating attempts to find two climbers missing on Mount Foraker.

"We haven't been able to do anything today. The clouds have prevented that," said Kris Fister, spokeswoman for Denali National Park and Preserve.

Park officials were hoping for a break in the clouds at 8,000 feet so that they could continue looking for Sue Nott, 36, of Vail, Colo., and Karen McNeill, 37, of Canmore, Alberta, Canada, on the 17,400-foot mountain.

Fister, speaking from park offices in Talkeetna 60 miles southeast of the mountain, said a weak weather system had moved in, bringing clouds to the south side of the Alaska Range as well as the search area.



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