State Briefs

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2002

Coalition wants new studies of trans-Alaska pipeline

ANCHORAGE - A coalition of environmental, Native and public interest groups wants new studies done on the environmental impact of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

The coalition of 14 groups also wants a record of pipeline operations.

The demand came Tuesday on the final day that federal and state officials were accepting public comments as they consider whether the 800-mile pipeline should be allowed to continue carrying North Slope crude.

The draft federal and state reports recommend renewing the right of way for another 30 years, but a final decision isn't due until the end of the year.

Bob Randall, a staff attorney with the Anchorage environmental law firm Trustees for Alaska, said the environmental impact statement violates federal law in part by failing to consider enough alternatives for the pipeline's future.

And he said the state's pipeline report violates state law because it recommends giving a new lease to the pipeline despite some outstanding operational and safety violations.

Six oil companies own the pipeline: BP, Phillips, ExxonMobil, Williams, Amerada Hess and Unocal. The line has operated for 25 years and carries 1 million barrels of oil a day to a tanker port at Valdez.

The pipeline's right of way across federal and state lands expires in early 2004, and the oil companies have applied to renew it for another 30 years.

Eielson guard unit returns

FAIRBANKS - Members of an Alaska Air National Guard unit have returned to Eielson Air Force Base following a deployment in the desert of Oman.

The 50 members of the 168th Air Refueling Wing returned home Wednesday.

Wing commander Col. Tim Scott said a U.S. Air Force directive aims to have guard and reserve units deactivated by the end of September after a year on full-time status. Scott said the first group of 52 people was deactivated Wednesday.

Traditional guard members can go back to their civilian jobs, serving one weekend a month and two weeks a year in the guard, while others can go back to their full-time Department of Defense jobs working for the wing.

However, the 55 members in the security forces squadron will continue to fill 90-day rotational deployments in the Middle East indefinitely, Scott said.

There are still about 25 airmen and a KC-135 air tanker in the tent city that makes up the 406th Air Expeditionary Wing near Thumrait in southern Oman, a Middle Eastern country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Fishing permit broker sentenced in scam

ANCHORAGE - A Homer fishing permit broker has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing $335,000 from commercial fishing clients.

Debbie Moore, 41, was accused of losing the money in a Nigerian investment scam. Moore, who owns Northern Enterprises Brokerage, pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree theft after her arrest in January.

In a hearing Tuesday, Moore also was sentenced to 10 years of probation. During that time, she is supposed to pay back some of the money to her 15 victims, who had expected her to buy and sell boats, permits and fishing quota shares.

According to Alaska State Troopers, Moore sent most of the money overseas. Moore had fallen for an increasingly common con game, in which Americans are promised a huge reward if they send money abroad to help smuggle a fortune out of Nigeria or some other African nation, said Assistant district attorney John Wolfe.

Compiled from wire service reports.



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