Articles & Op-eds


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


APRN: Small Businesses Struggle To Comply With Health Insurance Requirement

by By Annie Feidt

Starting this month, businesses in Alaska with more than 100 full time workers have to provide health insurance. And under the Affordable Care Act "full time" is any employee who works more than 30 hours a week. Senator Lisa Murkowski is sponsoring legislation that would change that threshold to 40 hours. Many restaurants owners in Anchorage are watching the legislation closely. It just after the lunch rush at Crossbar in midtown Anchorage and Sous Chef Roy Martinez is grilling steak, plating f… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Alaska Beer Week Celebrates Alaska Small Business

Alaskans like to work hard and play hard -- and sometimes there is a market waiting to be tapped where the two overlap. Case in point, Alaska's thriving small brewing scene: a great example of Alaskan small business success. One of the little known facts about our state's economic picture is that we currently have 22 licensed breweries making high-quality craft beer, from Sitka to Silver Gulch, and I understand there are another eight in the works to be built and developed -- even in Hoonah! In… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: New Congress Brings New Hope for Alaska

For the first time in eight years, Republicans control both chambers of Congress. While our eight-vote majority in the Senate is not enough to unilaterally overcome filibusters or presidential vetoes, it is enough to restore regular order and actual debate on important issues. The changes we are bringing to the Senate - including longer work weeks and an open amendment process - will create opportunities for bipartisan coalitions to promote policies that strengthen Alaska and our nation.In this… Continue Reading


Roll Call: Murkowski’s Energy Manifesto Hiding in Plain Sight

by By Geof Koss

There's plenty of speculation about what Republicans will do on energy in the 114th Congress, and while a lot of details remain to be sorted out, the House and Senate chairs with primary jurisdiction have dropped plenty of hints about their thinking. Incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has been hiding her agenda in plain sight since February 2013, when she unveiled Energy 2020: a Vision for America's Energy Future. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, … Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Embrace Challenges, Rewards of Being an Arctic Nation

As Alaskans and the rest of America emerge from their election bunkers and turn on their televisions again, we are faced with another pressing issue of lasting importance: making the Arctic a national and international priority in a manner that benefits those who live in the far north. Five months from now, in April 2015, the United States will assume the chair of the Arctic Council, the intergovernmental forum among the eight nations with territory inside the Arctic Circle and that includes ac… Continue Reading

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