Articles & Op-eds


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Sen. Murkowski: Outlook for Passing Legislation Is Positive

by Sen. Lisa Murkowski

There is a strong impetus in Congress and across America to reshape our energy landscape. Prospects for passing a comprehensive energy bill are good, if Congress can avoid overreaching. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has been working diligently on a bipartisan bill since the beginning of the 111th Congress and held the first of several planned markups at the end of March. We started with issues where there's broad consensus - energy efficiency, research and development an… Continue Reading


Op-Ed: Murkowski: Outlook for Passing Legislation Is Positive

There is a strong impetus in Congress and across America to reshape our energy landscape. Prospects for passing a comprehensive energy bill are good, if Congress can avoid overreaching. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has been working diligently on a bipartisan bill since the beginning of the 111th Congress and held the first of several planned markups at the end of March. We started with issues where there's broad consensus - energy efficiency, research and development and… Continue Reading


Murkowski unveils ANWR drilling plan to Legislature

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Tuesday she will soon author a bill to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with the help of new technology. The announcement came during her address to a joint session of the state Legislature. "I intend to introduce legislation that will enable the oil reserves beneath ANWR to be explored and produced through directional drilling from locations outside the exterior boundaries of the refuge," Murkowski said. … Continue Reading


Salazar hears Alaska perspectives on offshore oil and gas development

by Alan Bailey

Hailed by the Resource Development Council as "perhaps the most important public hearing to be held in Alaska in years," preceded by a "march for jobs" involving a chanting assortment of helmet-wearing and placard-waving oil industry personnel, and attended by people from all sectors of the community, including rural villagers, state politicians, oil workers and environmental activists, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's outer continental shelf meeting in Anchorage on April 14 captured all of the … Continue Reading


Senator Murkowski has lunch with the Ladies

by Rebecca George

FAIRBANKS - The Ladies That Lunch committee sponsors the event for Murkowski each year to give the senator a chance to speak informally with the Fairbanks community. Stimulus funds, climate change, natural gas and base closures were some of the topics she addressed during a lengthy question-and-answer session. "My criteria for the stimulus bill was whether or not it would be timely, targeted and temporary," she said. "… and I did not believe that it met that criteria." While s… Continue Reading


Going Her Own Way

by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON - Coming from oil-rich Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski could be expected to promote oil and gas development zealously and give short shrift to renewable wind and solar power. But Murkowski approaches energy with the same pragmatism that marks her general approach in the Senate. While championing the traditional fossil fuels so vital to her home state, Murkowski also embraces renewable energy and generally supports a cap on greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. Murko… Continue Reading


Doctor says Sen. Murkowski expected to make full recovery from knee surgery

by Dermot Cole

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is on the mend and looking to visit Fairbanks next week, though she will probably be in a wheelchair or on crutches. The senator had knee surgery Tuesday in Anchorage to deal with injuries she suffered while skiing at Alyeska in March. We wish her a speedy recovery. Dr. Eli T. Powell, an Anchorage orthopedic surgeon who formerly commanded the Air Force Third Medical Group at Elmendorf Air Force Base, performed the operation. He said she is doing well and expected to m… Continue Reading


EDITORIAL: Bullet line

The so-called "bullet" line from the Brooks Range foothills to Southcentral may or may not be the best way to replace our region's dwindling supply of affordable natural gas. But skeptics of the project have been using a dubious claim to discredit this potentially appealing option, which would follow the Parks Highway south from Fairbanks. A bullet line will never get permission to follow the highway through Denali National Park, the skeptics claim. Environmentalists will never all… Continue Reading

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