Liz Ruskin, APRN
lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Liz
To a president calling for global action on climate change, Alaska is one big show-and-tell exhibit. Exit Glacier is on the presidential itinerary next week, and Obama is expected to announce new Alaska initiatives related to climate.
Mayor Berkowitz today announced which street will close for security. He said residents should be flexible when visiting downtown for the first half of the week, but he says the event won’t shut down commerce.
President Obama’s visit to Alaska is now less than a week away, and he’s not the only one with an agenda for his trip.
“It’s an exciting time for Alaska. We don’t have a lot of presidents who stop here unless they’re low of fuel,” Gov. Walker says.
The head of the U.S. Coast Guard says lawmakers and the national security staff are waking up to the need for more icebreakers as the Arctic opens to increased ship traffic.
Reaction to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s ‘yes’ vote, in favor of moving a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, is ricocheting around Alaska and social media. Alaskans who support abortion rights feel burned while conservatives aren’t giving Murkowski much credit for it.
The White House and the EPA today released the final version of its rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The administration’s Clean Power Plan sets targets that states have to meet and requires them to submit plans detailing how they will acheive them. But Alaska will not have to comply with new mandates, at least not yet.
A bill to defund Planned Parenthood failed a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate today. Sen. Dan Sullivan is a co-sponsor. Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted to advance the defunding measure also, but she says she doesn’t want to see Planned Parenthood’s funding removed without an investigation.
Alaska will be exempt from new federal rules aimed at cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she got word Monday in a phone call from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
Congress has averted a crisis in U.S. Highway funding. The Senate passed a House bill on Thursday to keep the highway program afloat until at least Halloween.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski passed two major bills out of the Senate Energy Committee today, each containing priorities she’s been working on since she became the panel’s chairman. One passed on a strict party-line vote while the other passed overwhelmingly, but each bill reflects elements of the senator’s legislative style.
The Obama administration faced a tough crowd this morning as it defended its nuclear agreement with Iran in Congress. Both of Alaska’s senators are among the chorus of lawmakers who say the deal is bad for the U.S.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s big energy policy bill, if it passes, would be the first since 2007. Several national energy bills have washed up on the rocks since then. Murkowski’s strategy is to keep controversies out of the package, and it was tested at a Senate Energy Committee meeting this morning.
Alaska can expect another high-level Washington visitor next month. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, plans to come to the state for several days starting Aug. 11.
The U.S. House today passed a bill to gut state labeling laws for GMO foods. Alaska Congressman Don Young voted for the bill, which he says he did by mistake.
Yesterday Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced an energy bill that steered clear of hot-button issues to ensure Democratic support. Today, the Alaska Republican sponsored a separate energy bill of just hot buttons.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski today released a national energy policy bill. It’s been one of her highest priorities as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, and she produced the bill jointly with the top Democrat on the committee, Maria Cantwell of Washington. Murkowski says it required compromise; the bill doesn’t include some of the big items on Murkowski’s energy agenda.
The Southeast village of Saxman took its fight to be designated a “rural” community to Congress today. Saxman Village President Lee Wallace told a House subcommittee he was devastated in 2007, when he watched the Federal Subsistence Board decide Saxman was “non-rural.”
The deadline for renewing the nation’s highway programs is nine days away. Leaders in the Senate this week negotiated a bill that would fund highways for the next six years. But it would require selling off $9 billion of crude oil that’s stashed in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The general nominated to be the Army’s Chief of Staff suggested this morning that the plan to cut 2,600 Alaska soldiers isn’t final yet. But it’s hard to say whether the Army really plans to reconsider, or whether the general merely agreed to follow a procedure to ultimately reach a pre-determined end.
An education bill the U.S. Senate passed last week includes several provisions that boost the role of Alaska Native tribes, and a new grant program for Native language immersion programs.