Articles & Op-eds


Washington Post: Republicans reject 'blame game' on oil spill

At a small scrum inside the Capitol, reporters asked Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) variations of the same question -- did he assign any blame to the Obama administration for the disaster on the Gulf Coast? "That's not constructive at this point," said an exasperated LeMieux, turning away. "I don't want to play that part of the game." LeMieux was one of multiple senators who spent part of the day distancing themselves from the "who's to blame?" narrative running through conservative -- and other… Continue Reading


KTVA (CBS): Alaska Delegation Opposes Add'l Wilderness Review of ANWR

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Alaska delegation, made up of Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich along with Rep. Don Young today submitted a joint letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar opposing Fish and Wildlife's proposal which would include a wilderness review of ANWR. While the delegates unanimously favor an update to the 22-year-old plan, they firml… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska senators seek review into Gulf oil rig explosion

FAIRBANKS - Alaska's senators want answers about the explosion of an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In a statement released Thursday, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is a ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the committee will be having a hearing Thursday to review issues about offshore oil and natural gas development. "As we look to expand exploration off our nation's coasts, it's critical that we take every possible precaution to guard against simil… Continue Reading


National Journal: Senate Hearing To Probe Oil Rig Explosion

A Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing next Thursday on offshore drilling will take on a larger significance in light of the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent leak that officials estimate could reach the Louisiana shoreline by Friday. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is scheduled to testify. In a press release today, the panel's top Republican, Lisa Murkowski, called it "critical that we take every possible precaution to guard against similar accidents." … Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: Murkowski on oil spill in the Gulf: "Tragedy on many levels"

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Coast Guard officials are at the White House now, giving a briefing on the government and industry response to the widening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from British Petroleum's offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon. The incident is one "of national significance," Napolitano said. The spillage threatens to dwarf the amount of oil leaked by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, Coast Guard commandant Adm. Thad Allen told the Miami Herald. Meanwhile, … Continue Reading


National Journal: Murkowski: Reid Is Playing Politics

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is frustrated with what she views as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's political posturing. Speaking to Tuesday evening at the Capitol, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee took sides with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in his ongoing dispute with Reid, who faces a tough re-election fight in Nevada, over whether immigration reform should be tabled this year so a climate bill can move forward. "I think Senator Graham is… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Finance regulation plan may hurt small Alaska lenders

No one disputes the need to corral Wall Street and rein in the largest financial institutions that were responsible for the economic crisis. A major piece of the back and forth debate in the Senate this week has centered on whether the pending financial reform legislation casts too wide of a net, ensnaring small, community-based banks and credit unions that had nothing to do with the economic meltdown. So even though negotiators have reached an agreement to debate the financial regulatory refor… Continue Reading


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

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