KTVA (CBS): Congressional delegation urges standing together against "Washington's Assault On Alaska"

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVA-CBS 11 News) Memories of Governor Wally Hickel's candid attitude and the federal government not controlling Alaska's resources were on the minds of Alaska's entire congressional delegation in a rare, joint address before the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Monday.

All three leaders took on the former governor's spirit in urging Alaskans to tell the federal government to back off.

"I think Wally would be really glad this forum was going on today," says Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. "I think he would tell the three of us give 'em hell."

"And I remember him many times (saying,) hell, no more," added Rep. Don Young. R-Alaska.

If Alaskans anger toward federal control was not already clear, Hickel's passing has crystallized the position.

"Gov. Hickel's motto of 'just get things done,'" says Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. "And just put aside parisian politics aside and do what's right for Alaska."

To illustrate how the federal government is overreaching, Murkowski compared Alaska's economy to a collapsing dam, with a list of holes so long it took her 12 minutes to list what she feels is "Washington's assault on Alaska."

While much of the delegation focused on taking on the federal government many in the crowd wanted to know why Begich has not signed onto Murkowski's legislation proposing to change how the Environmental Protection Agency is regulated.

"So my view is I want to keep the pressure on them (other lawmakers,)"

Begich says. "And the pressure means a comprehensive energy plan that deals with climate change, and that's what this does. We have the same approach. And EPA has overstepped its boundary."

Begich would not go as far as saying he is ready to support the legislation. But he, along with Murkowski and Young, say it is one more example of how they must double as Alaska educators when topics like the gulf oil spill come up and threaten Alaska offshore drilling.

"But for those who think OCS (outer continental shelf drilling) is just going to go away aren't living in the real world," Begich says.

"Sen. Begich said the Arctic is dear," Young added. "It will be no value if they impose regulations they're suggesting."

"We want to put forward policies that make sense. That are not just reactionary and emotional," Murkowski added.

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Source: By Matthew Simon. Originally broadcast May 17, 2010