Articles & Op-eds


U.S. bill to raise Alaska gas pipeline loan guarantee

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - Key U.S. lawmakers have reached a deal on legislation that would boost the federal government's loan guarantee for building a massive pipeline that would transport Alaska's huge natural gas reserves to the lower 48 States. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Democratic chairman Jeff Bingaman and top panel Republican Lisa Murkowski have agreed to a measure that would raise the 2004 loan guarantee program for the pipeline project to $30 billion from $18… Continue Reading


Murkowski Seeks $30 Billion Loan Guarantee To Construct Alaska Gas Pipeline to Lower 48

by Lynn Garner

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to approve June 9 an oil and gas title to a draft energy bill that will increase a federal loan guarantee for building the Alaska natural gas pipeline from $18 billion to $30 billion. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), ranking minority member, said Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has agreed to include the increased authorization in the base text of an energy bill that the committee hopes to complete the week of June 9. … Continue Reading


Gas Pipeline Up Before US Senate Committee

Provisions that would help finance an Alaska natural gas pipeline are in the US Senate energy bill being hammered out this month. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) says she has support from Energy Committee Democrats to insert the proposals in the base text of the oil and gas part of the bill. At this stage, the gasline provisions have bipartisan support. They would sweeten loan guarantees and speed up the process to get them. Listen to the audio by clicking here.… Continue Reading


Murkowski: Congress supports Alaska gas line

by Jill Burke

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski says Congress is helping pave the way for a new gas pipeline in Alaska. In a video news release, Murkowski says an energy bill in the works will include financial incentives for the company that builds the pipeline. The incentives include increasing the loan guarantee to $30 billion and allowing the company to access federal financing. The gas line has also received support from President Barack Obama's administration, which has helped the pro… Continue Reading


Federal bill gives edge to Alaska gas pipeline

by Rena Delbridge

FAIRBANKS - The potential of super-low-interest federal loans and increased guarantees might lend greater appeal to proposals to build a large-diameter natural gas pipeline linking Alaska's North Slope resources and markets in Canada and the Lower 48. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced several provisions benefiting an Alaska gas pipeline that she's secured in a comprehensive energy bill in Washington, D.C. She's the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by… Continue Reading


Murkowski optimistic on Alaska gas piplene progress

by Erika Bolstad

WASHINGTON -- Alaska's proposed natural gas pipeline has the support of the White House and plenty of congressionally sponsored incentives that will grease it through the federal regulatory process, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. So now isn't the time to get sidetracked by "finger-pointing," Murkowski said, referring to an emerging rift among Gov. Sarah Palin, her colleague Sen. Mark Begich and her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski. Over the past week, Begich complained … Continue Reading


Ratification of the ‘Law of the Sea’ treaty would redraw the maps

by Adrian Lysenko

BARROW, Alaska- The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a 420 ft. icebreaker homeported in Seattle, Wash., breaks ice in support of scientific research in the Arctic Ocean. The Healy is mid-way through a four month deployment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Prentice Danner. Alaskans are living in a time period to see one of the last redrawings of the world maps, when "more is known about the surface of Mars than about the Arctic Ocean's deep." That quote came from Scott G. Borgerson,… Continue Reading


Federal report says villages need better help in relocating

by Erika Bolstad

LEAD: Single federal office should direct moves to escape floods, erosion. WASHINGTON -- The federal government could be doing more to help relocate Alaska Native communities whose vulnerability to erosion and flooding has only worsened with global warming, concludes a report from the Government Accountability Office. Congress should designate a lead federal agency to work with the state of Alaska, the report found, saying that a lack of agency leadership "has emerged as an impedime… Continue Reading


The limping legislator

by Daniel LIbit

Since hurtling 300 feet down a ski slope at Alaska's Alyeska Resort in March, Lisa Murkowski has been limping around Capitol Hill. It's been a complete pain in the neck - well, the knee - but the senator has come to notice a distinct upside to wielding crutches in Congress. "It definitely creates conversation with members I wouldn't typically have interactions with," says the Alaska Republican. "They will come up to me and ask me how I am." A few weeks ago, en route from the Senate cha… Continue Reading


Young lashes out at Congress over missile defense

by Jason Lamb

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Rep. Don Young took his colleagues to task Tuesday for proposed cuts to the Missile Defense Agency at the same time North Korea appears to be preparing to test launch a long-range missile that could strike Alaska. Young's admonition came a day after U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates toured missile silos at Fort Greely and defended his move not to add any more interceptor missiles there. "I just hope that we're not caught, pardon the pun, with our pants down… Continue Reading


Murkowski Walks Delicate Line as Ranking Member

by Geof Koss

In the summer of 2007, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined a small group of Senators to sponsor a cap-and-trade bill that aimed to find middle ground in the increasingly heated debate over global warming. Spearheaded by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the Low Carbon Economy Act represented a good-faith effort by moderates from both parties to reduce emissions without sacrificing economic growth. The group won praise for its work, but the Senate's … Continue Reading


Murkowski calls for more support of nuclear energy

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski is asking President Barack Obama to back up his claims that he supports nuclear energy. Murkowski made the comments on the Senate floor Monday, urging the administration to expand the role of nuclear energy in the nation's energy strategy. While Obama has said in the past he supports nuclear energy, he's also said the United States must not increase its reliance on nuclear energy until national security and nuclear waste disposal have been adequat… Continue Reading


EDITORIAL: A study in fixing nursing shortage

Much of the debate about the nation's health care has centered on costs. But there's another fundamental question that's received far less attention: Who will provide care to an aging population in the years ahead? A report released last year by Dr. Peter Buerhaus and other researchers found that the nation could fall short by as many as 500,000 nurses in the next 16 years, in part because age will thin the current ranks of caregivers. To meet the demand, the Council on Physician and Nur… Continue Reading


Senate committee probes finances of Alaska Native corporations

by Betty Mills

WASHINGTON - Leaders of 20 Alaska Native corporations spent last week scrambling to gather financial information for a Senate subcommittee that is probing their participation in a federal contracting program. The Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight scheduled a hearing for July 16 on federal contracts awarded to Alaska Native corporations under a program administered by the Small Business Administration. At issue is the participation of Alaska Native corporations in the agency's … Continue Reading


EDITORIAL: Suicide prevention

How best to push back the darkness, let in the light? No one is sure why Alaska's suicide rate has risen for four straight years and is the nation's highest. Alaska can round up the usual suspects -- alcohol and drug abuse, hopelessness, isolation, poverty, wretched family lives, lack of opportunity, sexual abuse, biological factors, culture, history, racism -- but we still won't have all the answers. We do have some answers, however. And as Susan Soule, mental health consultant and former d… Continue Reading


Murkowski concerned about Fairbanks air traffic control staff, sent letter to FAA

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski is expressing her concern about reduced air traffic control staff in Fairbanks. Murkowski sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration Friday saying reduced personnel at the Fairbanks tower may be dangerous to aviation traffic in Fairbanks. The FAA recently cut back on air traffic control staff in Fairbanks including the terminal radar approach control. The regional radar center in Anchorage now handles the midnight shift. Murkowsk… Continue Reading


EDITORIAL: Sound Protection

Alaska's congressional delegation introduced legislation earlier this month to maintain an essential component of the system that keeps Prince William Sound safe from another oil spill like the one that erupted from the Exxon Valdez tanker 20 years ago. In the spring of 1989, this newspaper and those across the nation featured daily portraits of the liquid devastation sloshing around the sound and smearing its way westward down Alaska's coastline. The crude oil badly oiled beaches as far dis… Continue Reading


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


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


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

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