Liz Ruskin, APRN
lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Liz
The federal Energy Department announced today it will license Liquified Natural Gas exports from Nikiski, even to countries that don’t have a free trade agreement with the U.S. The authorization is conditional on winning final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But Sen. Lisa Murkowski says it’s a big boon for the project to bring North Slope natural gas to market.
The Missile Defense Agency today confirmed Clear Air Station as its preferred location for a new type of radar system, called Long Range Discrimination Radar. The selection of Clear helps solidify Alaska’s role as host to the ground-based mid-course missile defense system, designed primarily to shoot down warheads from North Korea.
A Tooksook Bay teenager who became a singing sensation on Facebook performed for ambassadors and Arctic VIPs at the State Department in Washington D.C. last night. Byron Nicholai was introduced by Secretary of State John Kerry at a reception to mark the beginning of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is one of five freshmen on the Senate Armed Services committee, and he’s carving out a place for himself among the national security hawks. Today, as the committee heard from two architects of the 2007 surge in Iraq, Sullian said the president should prepare Americans for prolonged war and win their support for ongoing combat.
The U.S. House this evening began debate on a bill by Alaska Congressman Don Young to renew the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s primary fishing law. Actually, lawmakers just debated how they’re going to debate the legislation. Meanwhile, the White House yesterday issued a policy statement criticizing Young’s bill, suggesting the president would veto it.
U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington and Lisa Murkowski have introduced a bill that would allow the Coast Guard to build as many as six heavy icebreakers.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski wants Alaska to get a share of the federal revenues from oil and gas development off Alaska’s shores. Alaska’s congressional delegation has tried before, but this time Murkowski hopes to harness the support of other coastal senators. The idea proved controversial at an Energy Committee hearing Tuesday morning.
The U.S. House has passed a bill to keep the Coast Guard operating at the current spending level.
The Interior Secretary’s power to take land into trust for tribes could create pockets of Indian Country across Alaska. Tribes see it as an opportunity to police their own territory and improve village safety. Others see it as the reservation model that Alaskans rejected in the land claims settlement act 44 years ago. Outside the state, land-into-trust is controversial, too.
The FAA last week named University of Alaska Fairbanks a “Center of Excellence” for research on unmanned aircraft. UAF and partner universities are charged with helping the FAA figure out how to integrate the unmanned machines in the national airspace. It’s still not clear if much federal money will follow.
The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday morning the FCC is ready to investigate how a company partly owned by Fairbanks-based Doyon won licenses to use the wireless spectrum, while claiming it was entitled to billions of dollars in discounts. Critics say Doyon’s big corporate partner, Dish Network, is taking advantage of a program meant to help small businesses. Doyon says the program worked exactly as intended.
Shell has gotten another green light for its oil exploration season in the Chukchi Sea this summer.
Alaska Bush pilot Urban Rahoi, a homesteader, lodge owner and Fairbanks businessman, had a ride in a World War II-era B-17 as it flew over the National Mall today. Nice day, he says, but he wanted to be at the controls.
Sen. Dan Sullivan pummels the head of U.S. Fish & Wildlife over management of the Arctic Refuge. Sullivan claims the feds are violating the law by managing areas as wilderness without congressional approval. Not so, says the refuge manager.
The years 2002 through 2005 were bad for Bering Sea pollock. The biomass plunged during those years. In a presentation in Washington, D.C., a NOAA fisheries biologist said today ongoing research points to two suspects: ice and fat, in league with each other.
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee today moved a bill to renew the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The sponsor, Alaska Rep. Don Young, says the bill makes minor changes to the fisheries law. But some fishermen and conservationists say it undercuts environmental protections and the requirement of science-based management.
The U.S. House today passed a military construction bill that includes $37 million for buildings at Eielson Air Force Base to support two squadrons of F-35s. The bill has almost as much for a new boiler at the Eielson power plant, and nearly $8 million for the Fort Greely gym.
Administrator Gina McCarthy says Alaska’s request for an exemption from the power plant rule will get serious consideration.
The White House is reviewing a highly controversial EPA rule on streams and wetlands. Sen. Lisa Murkowski pressed the EPA boss on it, saying it has Alaskans from all sectors worried.