Articles & Op-eds


Alaska Public Radio Network: Murkowski Pessimistic About US Ratifying Sea Treaty This Year

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and experts in Arctic policy are pessimistic that the U.S. will ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty this year, even as and Russia say their countries were able to hammer out an Arctic border dispute this week thanks to the Treaty. Norway's Deputy Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide details the agreement Norway and Russia reached this week on their Arctic border dispute. He spoke Wednesday at a conference on Arctic security at CSIS in Washington. Listen to the audio at… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska Sens. Begich, Murkowski split on financial reform bill

FAIRBANKS - Alaska's senators are split on the sweeping financial reform bill the Senate is expected to debate today. While senators on both sides of the aisle believe reform is necessary to prevent another financial crisis like the one that hit Wall Street in 2008, they disagree about what to do. Democrats are looking to use the legislation to regulate banks, while Republicans are arguing against the consumer protection provisions championed by President Obama. Republicans voted for three day… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Murkowski looks to expand Eielson

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is hopeful the Air Force will station some of its next generation refueling tankers at Eielson Air Force Base. The senator questioned the deputy director of the Air National Guard last week about the possibility of Eielson's 168th Air Refueling Wing receiving the still-in-development KC-X tanker. Murkowski noted that the 168th is the only refueling unit in an Arctic territory and transfers more fuel than any other tanker group when refueling active duty aircraft in the Paci… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Coal-to-liquid plant at Eielson still under consideration

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A top Air Force official told Sen. Lisa Murkowski Thursday that a coal-to-liquid plant at Eielson Air Force Base is still under consideration. Murkowski questioned Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Terry Yonkers, about the issue at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations- Military Construction Subcommittee. Yonkers said the Air Force is conducting feasibility and financial viability studies and also conducting a business case analysis to see if an enha… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: EDITORIAL: Federal issue: Volcanic ash isn’t just a danger to Alaskans

All the second-guessing about the closure of European air space because of volcanic ash should illustrate at least one thing: Not enough is known about this problem. The enormous scope of the economic and social disruption in Europe during the past week underscored why it's important for the United States to engage the topic as a nation. The same thing could easily happen here. Alaska, which has most of the active U.S. volcanoes, has developed a volcano monitoring system during the past few de… Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch: Young's website is good. Whose is better?

We joke a lot in the newsroom about the number of press releases we get from politicians. Gov. Sean Parnell's tend to be somewhat emotive (he frequently seems to be "concerned" about something or "welcom(ing)" something else, and occasionally he's "outraged"), while Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich seem to be in a constant race to issue contrasting opinions on all sorts of issues. And then there's Rep. Don Young, Congressman for All Alaska, who issues a press release for -- well, just about … Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch: Alaska Native corps. fight to keep favoritism in federal contracting

Small business designation under the U.S. Small Business Administration can be a lightning rod for success for companies owned by Alaska Native tribes and corporations, which enjoy privileges under the program not afforded to other participants. In particular, only Native-owned businesses have the ability to land sole-source, no-bid, unlimited-value contracts with the federal government -- a fact that raises some ire among those who oppose the preferential structure. Critics claim Native corpor… Continue Reading


The Associated Press: Murkowski urges passage of volcano warning bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says volcano eruptions in Iceland demonstrate that Congress needs to pass her bill to set up a volcano early warning and monitoring system. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate. Murkowski spoke Wednesday on volcano risks at a conference sponsored by the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance. She is co-chairwoman. The Alaska Republican says passengers grounded by Iceland eruptions should consider themselves lucky. A jet in 1989 flew throu… Continue Reading


KTUU: Murkowski's volcano bill gets renewed support in Senate

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the Iceland volcano is heating up support for more volcano monitoring here in the United States. Her bill would fund monitoring of another 20 of the nation's high priority volcanoes and establish 24-hour watch centers. Murkowski's proposal was ridiculed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal last year, but she says the economic disruptions caused by the volcano in Iceland are changing minds in Washington, D.C. "I think it has absolutely changed the minds,… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Murkowski defends no-bid Native contracts; seeks federal talks

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who opposes a new law requiring federal contracting officers to give a written explanation of any no-bid contract worth more than $20 million, says the Department of Defense should first conduct "formal consultations" with Alaska Native tribes before regulations are adopted. The language on federal contracting policy was inserted in the defense authorization act last fall by a conference committee without generating any attention in Alaska until after it happened. The prov… Continue Reading


KTVA (CBS): Alaska to join healthcare reform lawsuit

The state of Alaska will join 20 other states challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal health care reform legislation. The state of Alaska will join 20 other states challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal health care reform legislation.Governor Sean Parnell made the announcement midday April 20. The state is joining the lawsuit in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires U.S. citizens to buy federal government-… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Alaska joins lawsuit over health care reform bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Gov. Sean Parnell announced on Tuesday that the State of Alaska would join a lawsuit brought by at least 19 other states challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform legislation. Parnell made the long-expected announcement with state Attorney General Dan Sullivan at a press conference in Juneau. The White House has said the suit will fail, and that the Justice Department would vigorously fight any challenges. Virginia has filed a separate suit and Oklaho… Continue Reading


McClatchy Newspapers: Bipartisan bill seeks to help veterans find employment

by By Les Blumenthal. Originally published April 21, 2010

WASHINGTON -- With more than one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unemployed, both of Alaska's senators joined Sen. Patty Murray in introducing legislation Tuesday that would provide expanded training, job placement and small business assistance to them, calling the current situation unacceptable. "It really makes you ask how this can be, how these heroes ... struggle so much when they come home," said Murray, D-Wash., adding that existing programs offered by the Veterans Af… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Murkowski calls for in-state care for vets

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski questioned Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Thursday on why so many Alaskan vets have to go to the Lower 48 for health care when the same care could be purchased from providers in Alaska. Murkowski said more needs to be done treat Alaskan vets in their home state. "Sometimes its demand exceeds the capacity, sometimes our veterans are told they have to travel to Seattle because the procedures aren't available in Alaska," Murkowski said. "We are … Continue Reading


Alaska Public Radio Network: AK Delegation Responds to Offshore Initiative

Alaska's Congressman Don Young, a Republican, had harsh words for the new offshore drilling plan. Young says the plan actually stalls U.S. efforts to become energy independent, essentially placing a moratorium on Pacific Coast oil development. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) had a more positive spin on it. Speaking in Juneau on Wednesday, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said offshore resource development should provide a level of revenue sharing for affected coastal states.Listen to the audio from APRN… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Obama plan would open OCS to development, close Bristol Bay

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Obama administration's announcement Wednesday of its plans for offshore U.S. oil and gas exploration will strongly affect Alaska's Arctic Ocean coastline and the Bristol Bay region. The expansion of Outer Continental Shelf development gives Alaska's largest-grossing lease sale clearance to continue its plans for drilling. "This was one of the important milestones on our continual effort to mobilize a drilling ship into the Chukchi or the Beaufort (seas)," said Shell Al… Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: Alaska senators return with opinions of health care reform

by By Lisa Demer. Originally published March 30, 2010

They were on opposite sides during the debate leading up to health care reform in Congress and it's the same now that Alaska's two U.S. senators are back in Alaska talking about the result. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat who backed the reforms, says the legislation is packed with opportunity for people who didn't have it before to get health care and that most people calling his office now just want to know how it will affect them. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who opposed the legislation, s… Continue Reading


Alaska Dispatch: Murkowski on gas, Palin, and health care reform

The health care bill didn't do much to fix costs, we need some kind of gas line, and it doesn't look like Sarah Palin will be a big part of this year's re-election campaign. At least, that was the gist of a conversation Sen. Lisa Murkowski had with reporters in her Anchorage office Tuesday morning. Murkowski said she doesn't think the health care bill signed last week will deliver the benefits it promises; the main problem, she said, is its failure to address costs. Murkowski voted against the … Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Feds overreaching on health care, energy, Murkowski says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says America may have a new health care reform law, but the debate is far from over. In her first news conference Tuesday since the bill was passed, Murkowski says the legislation needs more work. She also touched on energy issues at the Anchorage conference and if there was a theme, it was frustration over federal intrusion into so many issues important to Alaskans and Americans. Although Murkowski opposed health care reform, she now believes it should… Continue Reading


KTUU (NBC): Health care bill will raise small businesses' costs, Murkowski says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- While Sen. Mark Begich says the recently passed health care reform bill will move Alaskans forward, Sen. Lisa Murkowski says her constituents are upset about the health care legislation. She says the bill will impact small businesses negatively, and efforts to employ additional people and expand business will be slowed by additional costs. "When you have costs that are associated with the employer mandate, it's going to shift to the workers in the form of lower wages, fewe… Continue Reading

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