Articles & Op-eds

05.18.09

Alaska Could Lead The Nation In Renewable Energy

by Christina Grande

An energy conference is going on in downtown Anchorage about how to make Alaska more energy efficient and using the state as one of the worlds leaders for renewable energy. Renewable Energy Alaska project is hosting a two day Business of Clean Energy in Alaska conference at the Dena'ina Center. One local alternative energy supplier lives by his motto, "I run a complete homestead on solar and wind and I have been for many years," says Kirk Garoutte, owner of Susitna Energy Systems… Continue Reading


05.17.09

Interior Alaska coal-to-diesel plant faces setback

by By Rena Delbridge

FAIRBANKS - Local officials hoping to build a coal-to-diesel plant near Eielson Air Force Base are up against the wall trying to coordinate with the military and could be out $10 million in federal funds anticipated to move the planning into a second phase. But U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said a top Air Force official told her the military will work with Fairbanks officials about concerns that the joint endeavor is off track. At a Senate subcommittee hearing last week, Murkowski raised the … Continue Reading


05.17.09

Coal-to-diesel plant faces problems

Fairbanks officials are hoping to build a coal-to-diesel plant near Eielson Air Force Base. However, obstacles are mounting in trying to coordinate with the military to the point that officials now fear a $10 million federal earmark to move the project along won't be well-spent. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said a top Air Force official has told her the military will work with Fairbanks officials about concerns that the joint endeavor is off track. The senator raised her concerns at a Senate… Continue Reading


05.16.09

Two-tug tanker escort could become federal law

The Alaska congressional delegation said it is pushing legislation that would require loaded oil tankers to be escorted by at least two vessels that can tow them away from trouble as they sail through Prince William Sound. Congress authorized the current escort rules in 1990 as part of the reforms written after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Sound a year earlier. The Exxon Valdez had just a single hull. Congress required that single-hull tankers get the escort tugs. Another reform was to … Continue Reading


05.14.09

Future teachers group chats with Murkowski

by Kayla Jeffress

Sixteen Future Teachers of Alaska students from the Barrow school system held a teleconference with Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski on April 28. Fifth-graders from Ipalook Elementary School, eighth-graders from Eben Hopson Middle School, and 11th- and 12th-graders from Barrow High School called in with their advisers and Martha Stackhouse, program director from Ilisagvik College. The Future Teachers of Alaska program is a cooperative effort between Ilisagvik College and the North Slope Borou… Continue Reading


05.14.09

Murkowski, Begich team up on tanker escort bill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would require every oil tanker leaving the Valdez Marine Terminal to be escorted out of Prince William Sound by two response tugboats. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. currently provides the two-tug service, but some watchdog groups fear the industry may attempt to lower that to one tug in an effort to save money in the future. Alyeska provides the two-tug escorts because its respo… Continue Reading


05.14.09

Politicians push for mandatory escort of oil tankers

The Alaska congressional delegation says it is pushing legislation that would require loaded oil tankers to be escorted by at least two vessels that can tow them away from trouble as they sail through Prince William Sound. Congress authorized the current escort rules in 1990 as part of the reforms written after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Sound a year earlier. The Exxon Valdez had just a single hull. Congress required that single-hull tankers get the escort tugs. Another reform was to … Continue Reading


05.13.09

Murkowski encourages fish diet for pregnant women

by Jason Moore

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Sen. Lisa Murkowski has an important message for pregnant women: "eat more fish." Murkowski spoke at a Capitol Hill event Wednesday where she touted a recently released FDA report that shows pregnant women should be eating more fish. The report analyzes the benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids and the risk of mercury. Murkowski says certain fish like salmon can benefit a developing brain. "I've always said the people in Alaska were always smart and bright… Continue Reading


05.13.09

Senate nod likely, though Murkowski objects

by Erika Bolstad

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski will continue to fight President Obama's pick for the No. 2 position at the Interior Department, despite the likelihood the full Senate will signal today in a vote that it plans to confirm the top aide. Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, last week joined fellow Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah in her "hold" on the nominee, David Hayes. Such a move by a senator keeps a nominee from a confirmation vot… Continue Reading


05.12.09

New bill would resolve Sealaska land issue

by Kate Golden

It's widely acknowledged that Sealaska Corp. is owed some land. "It's time that we resolve the entitlement issue to Sealaska," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who introduced the Senate version of a new bill that settles its four-decade-long land entitlement. Last year's bill has been tweaked to answer concerns. But it is still contentious, and many complain Sealaska has been neither collaborative nor transparent. The 50-person town of Edna Bay sent about 1,100 letters to membe… Continue Reading


05.10.09

Federal budget cuts slash Alaska programs, defense

by Betty Mills

WASHINGTON - Alaska does not fare well in the federal budget for fiscal year 2010 unveiled by President Barack Obama last week. Major cuts have been proposed in missile defense systems at Fort Greely, the Denali Commission and Alaska Native programs. The budget would reduce missile defense funding by 35 percent, cancel construction of a second missile field at Fort Greely and freeze the number of missile interceptors. The budget for the Denali Commission, a pet project of former Sen. Ted… Continue Reading


05.07.09

Sen. Kerry looks for window to ratify Law of the Sea

by By Allison Winter, Greenwire

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) is crafting a strategy to ratify the long-stalled Law of the Sea Treaty this year -- a move that ocean and foreign policy experts say is increasingly important as climate change reshapes the Arctic. Kerry said this week that he is working to find time for a hearing and votes on the treaty, which governs navigation, fishing, economic development and environmental standards on the open seas. "I hope we're ready to ratify it. I am … Continue Reading


05.06.09

Senators address Arctic warming

by Betty Mills

WASHINGTON - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., pledged on Tuesday to address the issue of global warming in the Arctic and to seek a new icebreaker for the region. Kerry's comments came at the end of a two-hour hearing on the global implications of warming in the Arctic. "This is a very challenging and very urgent problem," Kerry said. "It is in our economic and national security interest to get on this issue fast." He added, "There is no question that … Continue Reading


05.06.09

Letter to the Editor: Service honored

My father, Lt. Emmett Ray Aillaud, U.S. Navy, a decorated veteran, was lost at sea while in service to his country on Aug. 10, 1959. Since there were no remains, there was no grave. For various reasons, my mother did not pursue having a memorial stone placed in his honor in Arlington National Cemetery, though he was eligible for such recognition. About 10 years ago, after several immediate family members with a living memory of my father had passed away, my mother came to the realization tha… Continue Reading


04.30.09

Senators want to expel junk food from US schools

by By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. schools with vending machines that sell candy and soda to students could soon find the government requiring healthier options to combat childhood obesity under a bill introduced Thursday by two senators. While school meals must comply with U.S. dietary guidelines, there are no such rules on snacks sold outside of school lunchrooms. Many are high in fat, sugar and calories. Senators Tom Harkin and Lisa Murkowski said their bill would allow the U.S. Agriculture … Continue Reading


04.29.09

Ferry system bill could bring $200 million to Washington state

WASHINGTON -- The cash-strapped Washington state ferry system could receive more than $200 million in federal funding over the next five years to help repair and maintain its fleet of mostly older boats and improve aging docks and terminals under legislation introduced Wednesday. The bill, by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would provide more than $1 billion to the nation's ferry systems, with half allocated under a formula based on ridership and other factors and the rest distributed through gr… Continue Reading


04.29.09

WA, Alaska lawmakers urge more spending on ferries

by Matthew Daly

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers from Washington state and Alaska are teaming up to push for a dramatic increase in federal spending on ferry systems nationwide. A bill introduced Wednesday by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, would nearly triple ferry spending, to $200 million a year. Washington state has the largest ferry system in the country, with over 25 million riders a year. Alaska's Marine Highway system serves 30 communities along routes totaling more than 3,000 miles… Continue Reading


04.28.09

Bingaman, Murkowski Seek To Establish Energy Loan Agency

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman and ranking member Lisa Murkowski expect to introduce legislation this week to create a Clean Energy Deployment Administration that will oversee loan guarantees and direct loans for new technology in the Energy Department, Bingaman said today. The legislation would transfer authority of the existing loan guarantee program created in 2005 energy legislation to the proposed office. The existing program has been criticized because it has no… Continue Reading


04.24.09

Senators Question Cost of New Police Radios

by Emily Yehle

Senate appropriators questioned the cost of a new radio system for the Capitol Police on Thursday, promising to revisit the issue before Congress approves a spending provision that includes about $71 million for the project. "To me, $71 million just seems way out of line," Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse. "That just seems very, very expensive. I'd like to look at the requirements you have in mind." The hearing held by the Senate Appropriations Subcommit… Continue Reading


04.22.09

Murkowski Has Some Issues; But Pledges GOP Cooperation

by Otto Kreisher

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski raised concerns Tuesday about proposals from the panel's chairman that would require utilities to produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Murkowski also insisted that nuclear energy should be included in the definition of renewable energy sources, challenging its exclusion from the "green energy" list offered by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman. At the same time, Murkows… Continue Reading

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