Articles & Op-eds


KTVF: Murkowski Presses For Better VA Care In Alaska

by jrlewis

Alaska U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski continued to press the leadership of the Department of Veterans' Affairs over issues with the current VA healthcare system in Alaska. Following up on her discussions about the failings of the "Choice Card" Program in Alaska, she questioned VA Secretary Robert McDonald on the lessons learned from his August 2015 visit to the state, whether or not he understands the unique challenges veterans in Alaska face, and his plans to fix those issues. Secretary McDonald… Continue Reading


E&E News: Murkowski, Tidwell spar over Tongass old-growth logging plan

by Scott Streater

A Forest Service draft plan to end old-growth logging at Alaska's Tongass National Forest sparked several tense exchanges yesterday between the agency's head and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asked Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to hold off on advancing the plan to move from old-growth to new-growth logging in Tongass until completing a detailed inventory to ensure there is actually enough young-growth timber… Continue Reading


Alaska Public Media: Murkowski: Where’s that Arctic port?

by Liz Ruskin

When President Obama was in Alaska last year, he said he wanted to advance plans for a deepwater port in the Alaskan Arctic, possibly in Nome. Today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski followed up on that with the head of the Army Corps of Engineers. "Given the President's support for this, why have we not included construction funding going forward in this next fiscal year?"Murkowski asked. The assistant Army secretary for the Corps, Jo-Ellen Darcy, says her agency and the state of Alaska put the port f… Continue Reading


KTVA: BLM announces major cleanup of ‘legacy wells’

by By Shannon Ballard

ANCHORAGE - The federal government has already spent more than $100 million cleaning up abandoned wells in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, but now there's a new push to finally get the job done, and project managers with the Bureau of Land Management say it's time to spend even more. The legacy wells sit 200 miles above the Arctic Circle. There are 136 of them, drilled between 1944 and 1982 by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Geological Survey to determine what resources are in the area. The problem… Continue Reading


Alaska Public Media: Murkowski field hearing highlights rural Alaska’s unique energy issues, solutions

by Rachel Waldholz

When Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski chose Bethel for a field hearing of the Senate Energy Committee, which she chairs, she had some specific points to make. Murkowski brought five senators and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to the YK Delta on Monday to show her colleagues how sky-high energy costs can cripple economic development and even serve as a barrier to the installation of water and sewer systems. But, she also hoped to highlight what the rest of the U.S. can learn from rural Alaska.… Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch News: U.S. senators, top energy official travel to tiny Alaska village, hold Bethel hearing

by Lisa Demer

BETHEL - A hefty contingent of six U.S. senators, the U.S. energy secretary, Gov. Bill Walker and others traveled Monday in a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles on the frozen Kuskokwim River to the village of Oscarville, population 50. They got an up-close look at a community with big needs and solutions in the works. The field trip in Southwestern Alaska came on a day capped by a Bethel field hearing on energy, an issue woven into almost every aspect of life, from the fuel that powers skiffs… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: A chance for bipartisan progress: Omnibus energy bill could be first in almost a decade if Senate impasse ends

by Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

News-Miner opinion: Since becoming chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Lisa Murkowski hasn't been sitting on her hands. In addition to routine legislation and a host of bills on priorities of the day, she has spent much time crafting a gargantuan omnibus energy bill that, if passed, would be the first such successful legislation in almost a decade. As it stands now, the bill is in a holding pattern after Michigan senators blocked it due to a lack of action on… Continue Reading


Christian Science Monitor: This is how it looks when Congress gets along

by Francine Kiefer

WASHINGTON - Following last year's passage of bipartisan highway and education bills, the United States Senate is taking up another broad piece of legislation - this time on energy - in a further sign that Republicans and Democrats can work together, even in an election year. Congress hasn't passed broad-based energy legislation since 2007. America's energy situation has drastically changed since then, but partisan politics and election-year roadblocks have sidelined past attempts to adjust US … Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Every Student Succeeds Act Contains Needed Reforms Good for Alaskans

by Senator Lisa Murkowski

Fixing the flawed No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has been years in the making. Recently, we've reached a major milestone. On Thursday, the president signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, referred to as "ESSA." Congress passed NCLB in 2001, the year before I came to the U.S. Senate. It was intended to help states identify and focus on the educational disparities among students and take steps to improve schools that did not serve students well. That was necessary. Despite its obvious f… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Advancing Alaska’s LNG Project

I was reminded recently, while viewing a short film produced by the Consumer Energy Alliance, of the marvel that is our Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). I didn't marvel at the engineering; TAPS has delivered oil safely through some of the most challenging terrain and hostile conditions on earth. Nor did I reflect on its importance to our national energy security; Alaska still provides a vital source of oil to the West Coast where alternatives are limited by the lack of infrastructure from th… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Nuclear Deal Enriches Iran, Not Peace

Flashback: It's Jan. 21, 1981. Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States, but that's the second headline of the day. The top news was that 52 American hostages and diplomats were released by Iran after 444 days of captivity, just moments after President Carter left office. Iran viewed Carter as a weak leader who could be bullied around. The supreme leader could reasonably expect that life under President Reagan would be much tougher because Reagan understood the con… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Wishing Pres. Obama a productive visit to Alaska

As Alaskans, we take great pride in welcoming visitors to our beautiful state. That is especially true when our guest is the President of the United States. When President Obama announced he would visit at the end of August, I thought of how exciting the experience would be for him -- of the breathtaking scenery he will see, of the spectacular wildlife he will encounter, and of the amazing people he will meet. I hoped the president's trip would highlight the importance of cooperation and colla… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Health Care Reform Leaving Alaska Care Far From Affordable

The Affordable Care Act has unfortunately become one of the most ironically named pieces of legislation for Alaska in history. Affordable for whom, exactly? Insurance costs here in Alaska continue to rise as Alaska's health care providers are struggling to work within the law for our high-cost, high risk state. Last month, we heard news that Premera needs to increase premiums by 38 percent for 2016; MODA also intends to increase its premiums by 30 percent in 2016 - this on top of double-digit in… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Alaska Delegation United to Make Alaska VA Work for Veterans

Sometimes things seem too good to be true. Last year when the Phoenix VA waiting list scandal broke, and even as we began to discover that VA facilities in other parts of the country weren't meeting wait time standards, things were better in Alaska.It's not that Alaska VA didn't have staffing challenges like facilities in the Lower 48. Some of our challenges like staffing Wasilla with one doctor -- who ultimately quit -- when two were called horwere even more difficult to fix than they might be … Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Leaving Behind No Child Left Behind

Twenty-two to zero. In sports, that sounds like a convincing football score. In the halls of the United States Senate, though, such unanimity is nearly unheard of. But I am proud to tell Alaska's parents, students and teachers that this is exactly the result we got after weeks of consensus building and constructive negotiating to draft the Every Child Achieves Act - the antidote to the flawed No Child Left Behind law - as it passed out of committee and was sent to the Senate floor for debate. T… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Time for U.S. to Lead on Arctic

The U.S. assumed the Chair of the Arctic Council last month in an international event held in Canada and attended by leaders from around the world. Unfortunately, it seems like this barely registered to most Americans. A recent study found only 32 percent of U.S. residents are either clearly or vaguely aware of the Arctic Council's existence. Alaskans, who have a natural affinity for the Arctic, didn't fare much better, with only 35 percent aware of the Arctic Council. When you compare this … Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch News: Carter: US Arctic Defense Policy Falls Short

by By Erica Martinson

The U.S. military needs a better Arctic defense policy and has lagged in recognizing it is falling short, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a congressional hearing Wednesday. Carter's remarks came in response to questions from Sen. Lisa Murkowski at an appropriations committee hearing. Carter didn't provide details of what might be coming. "But I think a plan that is more than aspirational is needed," he told the panel, offering to work with Murkowski "to that end." Murkowski and Sen. D… Continue Reading


Letter to the Editor: Saluting Hydropower

I want to congratulate the City and Borough of Sitka on successfully finishing the Blue Lake Dam expansion project. I wish I could be there this week to celebrate with you, but I trust you will have a wonderful dedication ceremony. I toured the Blue Lake site many years ago and saw its potential to provide clean, stable, and affordable energy for Sitka residents. Like many, I had high hopes for this development to one day deliver lower energy… Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch News: Murkowski, King Seek to Enlist Other Senators in an Arctic Caucus

by By Yereth Rosen

Coming soon to the U.S. Capitol is a new group of lawmakers: the Senate Arctic Caucus. As of Tuesday, the group was just a nucleus of two -- Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who is part of the Senate's Democratic minority. But this week, Murkowski said, she and King are formally inviting other senators to join. "What I am trying to do is raise awareness about all things Arctic. I'm trying to allow members to see and appreciate that the Arctic… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Keystone XL - Good for Alaska

by Senator Lisa Murkowski

I understand that some Alaskans are wondering how the Keystone XL pipeline is relevant to Alaska. It's a fair question that I believe deserves an answer. Alaska has a unique history with large-scale infrastructure projects, including energy projects of great magnitude. Prudhoe Bay is a world-class oil field and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is a true modern marvel. But Alaskans are also a little nervous right now. Even The New York Times has described a sense of "economic anxiety" that hang… Continue Reading

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