Articles & Op-eds

07.26.09

Alaska senators defend Native corporations

by Betty Mills

WASHINGTON - Alaska Native corporations dodged a major bullet this week as Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich headed off an effort by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to clamp down on their federal contracting with the Defense Department. McCaskill, who convened a hearing into the contracting issue just last week, filed an amendment to a pending defense bill that would have slapped new restrictions on preferences enjoyed by the Alaska native corporations. In the wake of swift action by th… Continue Reading


07.25.09

EPA standing ground regarding Kensington mine

by Kate Golden

Alaska's senators called on the head of the U.S. Environmental Agency to answer for the agency's actions regarding the Kensington gold mine this week. Robert Dillon, a Senate energy staffer who works for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, characterized the meeting as "congenial but direct." "Administrator (Lisa) Jackson was not willing to concede any ground during the meeting," he said. "She defended her people." Republican Murkowski and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich… Continue Reading


07.23.09

Murkowski seeks funding for new Arctic icebreakers

by Rob Stapleton

While the shallow-draft icebreaker Coast Guard Cutter Healy arrives at Alaska ports on its way to the Arctic, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is working to convince Congress to provide funding for a new fleet of Coast Guard icebreakers for the Arctic. Murkowski is a member of a U.S. Senate-House conference committee that will reconcile differences in the two chambers' appropriations bills to fund the Department of Homeland Security in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The Senate passe… Continue Reading


07.23.09

Murkowski calls for cautious mining reform

by Alaska Newspapers Staff

Reform of the nation's 137-year-old hardrock mining law is overdue, but Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says Congress should take a cautious approach to make sure the law doesn't wind up shutting down viable companies. Murkowski serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, which met last week to consider reform of the General Mining Act of 1872 that would make mines on federal land pay royalties for the first time. Murkowski, the panel's top Republican, expressed concern that … Continue Reading


07.23.09

Murkowski seeks funding for new Arctic icebreakers

by Rob Stapleton

By Rob Stapleton While the shallow-draft icebreaker Coast Guard Cutter Healy arrives at Alaska ports on its way to the Arctic, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is working to convince Congress to provide funding for a new fleet of Coast Guard icebreakers for the Arctic. Murkowski is a member of a U.S. Senate-House conference committee that will reconcile differences in the two chambers' appropriations bills to fund the Department of Homeland Security in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.… Continue Reading


07.23.09

Military construction bill would bring millions to Alaska

by Rob Stapleton

Military spending for construction is expected to get a boost in 2010, in large part due to a $133.9 billion construction appropriations bill being supported by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski with hopes of passing the Senate before a summer recess. If passed, the Defense Department would spend nearly $336 million in military construction on Alaska's Army and Air Force installations in fiscal year 2010, according to information from Murkowski. The construction appropriation is part of the M… Continue Reading


07.23.09

Murkowski, Begich Meet on EPA’s Mine Decision

by Libby Casey

Alaska's senators met on Thursday with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to talk about the Kensington Mine Project. They're upset that the EPA has asked for a re-evaluation of a permit - a move the senators say could stall the project. You can listen to the audio here.… Continue Reading


07.23.09

Senator delays action on Native corporation contracting

by By Erika Bolstad and Elizabeth Bluemink

The U.S. senator who has been examining federal contracting preferences for Alaska Native corporations has decided to hold off on an amendment that would have opened the firms up to more competition for large Defense Department contracts. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who held an oversight hearing on Native corporation contracts last week, decided not to pursue an amendment for now, a spokeswoman for her office said. Wednesday night, she attached an amendment to a defense spending bill propo… Continue Reading


07.20.09

Murkowski joins call for more natural gas vehicles

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski added her name to a bill encouraging the manufacture of natural gas cars and trucks on Friday. The bill would extend and increase tax credits for natural gas vehicles and refueling stations. Murkowski said the bill not only decreases our dependence on foreign oil, it also saves consumers money at the pump and protects the environment.… Continue Reading


07.20.09

Local World War II vet honored

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- World War II Marine and Silver Star recipient Col. John G. Fuller was honored Saturday in Wasilla. Sen. Lisa Murkowski participated in the presentation, in which Fuller was given a flag that was flown over the Capitol building. Jack Fuller, as he is known locally, served in the state House for eight years as a representative from Nome after serving 34 years in the Alaska National Guard and Alaska Defense Force. State Sen. Charlie Huggins was also on site to prese… Continue Reading


07.19.09

State politicians upbraid EPA over mine delay

by Kate Golden

Alaska politicians on Friday castigated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for delaying the Kensington mine. Republican U.S. Sen. Murkowski sent a statement on Friday titled "Murkowski Decries EPA's Supreme Court End Run." She said she and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich had summoned EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the agency's head and an Obama appointee, to Murkowski's office to explain EPA's actions regarding the Kensington gold mine. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled l… Continue Reading


07.18.09

Federal contracting preferences for Alaska Native firms spark controversy

by Dermot Cole

Under a federal program designed to give Alaska Native corporations a preference in competing for government contracts, a company can get a 5 percent bonus for doing business with one of its own subsidiaries. That was the assertion Thursday in a congressional hearing called by Sen. Claire McCaskill to address questions about laws and regulations that give Alaska Native firms greater access to sole-source contracts than many other businesses. "What would be in your mind a rationale for al… Continue Reading


07.17.09

Kensington Mine Delay Troubling

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell today reacted with dismay to news that a regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to slow the permitting process for the Kensington Mine near Juneau. In a letter dated July 14, Seattle EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Michael Gearheard wrote, "We appreciate the need to move quickly on this matter, particularly in light of the hardships being experienced by many in the native Alaskan… Continue Reading


07.10.09

Murkowski Wants Amendments to Education Law

by Libby Casey

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) has again introduced legislation to soften the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. Listen to the story Hyperlink to here.… Continue Reading


07.10.09

EDITORIAL: Learning curve

Eight years ago, Congress approved a strict federal law demanding improvements in the nation's schools. The law never fit Alaska well, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has once again proposed legislation to make some necessary corrections. Murkowski has spent a long time advocating for these changes - most of the more than six years she has served in Washington. With the No Child Left Behind law possibly up for reauthorization later this year, she and other reform advocates have a better chanc… Continue Reading


07.10.09

Murkowski wants to amend No Child Left Behind Act

by By Jason Moore

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced legislation Thursday aimed at amending the No Child Left Behind Act. The senator says she is trying to address the challenges Alaska faces in complying with the law. The bill would provide flexibility for teachers who teach multiple subjects in middle and high school. Under No Child Left Behind, teachers are required to be certified and have a major or minor in each of the subject. Murkowski says that is nearly impossible for some r… Continue Reading


07.09.09

In the News: Roll Call - Youth Is Served in Senate GOP

by By John Stanton

For an institution that cherishes its reputation as "the world's most deliberative body," change can be hard to swallow - particularly for Senate Republicans. But change has come to the Republican Conference, where Sen. John Thune's (S.D.) rise to chairman of the Policy Committee and Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (Alaska) election as vice chairwoman of the Conference have marked a sudden shift to a younger generation of leaders. Thune, 48, and Murkowski, 52, are at the vanguard of a mini-youth… Continue Reading


06.29.09

EDITORIAL: Good for us

Since she first went to Washington, D.C., to represent Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski has quickly, and politely, climbed through the ranks of the national Republican Party, using her intelligence and reason to win the confidence of her colleagues. With her recent unanimous election as the new vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference - a scant seven years after she arrived in D.C. - she now is placed well inside the party's main sphere of influence. Murkowski's gain is Alaska's gain,… Continue Reading


06.27.09

Sen. Murkowski has concerns with climate change bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the House bill is not a solution to climate change. Murkowski has concerns about how she says the bill was rushed through the House without bipartisan cooperation, unlike a competing bill passed by her Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She says the House bill would insert the federal government into citizens' daily lives, and she thinks Congress may have overlooked the details. "To pass a bill that will so affect each of… Continue Reading


06.27.09

In The News: Editorial from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner -- Consensus builder: Sen. Murkowski tapped again by congressional colleagues

EDITORIAL: Consensus Builder Sen. Murkowski tapped again by congressional colleagues. Published Saturday, June 27, 2009 Sen. Lisa Murkowski's Republican colleagues this week elected her to a top spot in their organization - vice chairman. Her election was the latest advancement to reflect the confidence and respect she has gained on her own in Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, she secured the top Republican post on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She also got a s… Continue Reading

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