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#03-03-2013 - ComFish News Roundup
Alaska students help to harness tidal power potential in Homer
Michael Armstrong
Homer News March 2, 2013
An idea to use the Homer Deep Water Dock as a test bed to measure and evaluate tidal energy got a boost with a city-university collaboration. Instead of the city hiring a private firm, a group of seven University of Alaska Anchorage engineering students and their professors are doing the 35-percent design for the Tidal Energy Incubator Project. The cost? "We've been able to take advantage of some free labor by feeding them cookies to get to that first 35 percent," said Katie Koester, city of Homer economic development coordinator, joking. Well, cookies and expenses like travel to bring the students and two professors to Homer. The Homer City Council appropriated $2,500 for....

A bad idea from another era: Alaska's dam to nowhere
Don Rearden
March 2, 2013
It is hard to think that in terms of politics or our approach to the environment that we’d ever revert to the madness of Alaska in the late 1950’s. Alaska was a hotbed for ridiculous government projects then, with the pinnacle of such endeavors being Project Chariot, a plan to ignite an atomic blast, equating to nearly 160 of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima, underground near the village of Point Hope. Naturally, this was all to be done in the name of the Three P’s: peace, prosperity, and progress. Supporters of that ingenious idea said the explosion would create a useful deep-water port and be a boon to economic development in the area. Fortunately locals and a few vocal scientists managed...

Sitka: Size matters
by Robert Woolsey, KCAW
March 1, 2013 12:48 pm
The biggest construction crane in Alaska is now assembled and operating at Sitka’s Blue Lake dam. And the public will be able to take a look this month. According to Jessica Stockel, with the contractor McMillen LLC, the crane itself weighs about 2-million pounds. It has an overall length of 364-feet. The main boom can lift and lower 47,500 pounds. In order to carry that load across the canyon, the crane has 660,000 pounds of counter-weight.....

New EPA chief must end political attacks on Pebble Mine
John MacKinnon
Executive Director, Associated General Contractors of Alaska
Not long before U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson resigned from President Obama’s cabinet, it was revealed she spent years using a secret e-mail account to conduct official business. Under pressure, the agency has started releasing those e-mails, which provide a glimpse into how top officials at the agency worked to outmaneuver lawmakers and the press. But I found one of Jackson’s e-mails particularly astounding and hypocritical, given the agency’s apparent obsession with politics and PR spin. “The public health and environmental laws that....

Radioactive tun from Fukushima?
9 hours ago  •  Eryn Brown - Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES -- Marine biologist Dan Madigan stood on a dock in San Diego and considered some freshly caught Pacific bluefin tuna. The fish had managed to swim 5,000 miles from their spawning grounds near Japan to California's shores, only to end up the catch of local fishermen. It was August 2011, five months since a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami had struck in Japan, crippling the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Madigan couldn't stop thinking about pictures he'd seen on TV of Japanese emergency crews dumping radioactive water from the failing reactors into the Pacific Ocean. The graduate student looked at the tuna and wondered: Could they have transported any of that radiation to California? For most people, the thought of radioactive sushi tuna is nightmarish, but for Madigan it represented an opportunity. If radiation from Fukushima was detectable, scientists might look for traces of the contamination in...