Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

The proposed Pebble Mine was Exhibit A at a hearing in the U.S. House this morning. The Republican-led hearing was supposed to be a critical look at environmental regulation, but the focus shifted as lawmakers of both parties kept asking the same question: Why hasn’t Pebble filed for its permits yet? Download Audio

The state of Alaska is forcing Tesoro to sell one of its gasoline storage terminals at the Port of Anchorage. With the company's purchase of the Flint Hills tank farm at the port, the state says Tesoro would have too much control over gasoline prices in the Railbelt. Download Audio

In the U.S. Senate today, gun control measures failed to get enough votes to advance. Alaska’s U.S. senators voted with their fellow Republicans, to block the amendments. Sen. Dan Sullivan says the only thing that would have stopped two recent mass murders "is not having the rise of ISIS." Download Audio

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, through her assignment on the Appropriations Committee, is charged with writing a bill that funds a wide swath of the federal government. It is a major opportunity to direct money to agencies important to Alaska. The committee passed her bill today, but a Democratic leader says it's unlikely to see the full Senate. Download Audio

Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate. He made the announcement just 15 days after he filed to challenge Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Primary. In a press release, Sullivan said conservative leaders, who he did not name, asked him to run just 1 day before the filing deadline. He says there’s “significant” financial support for a conservative candidate, but he says it would be best for him to work on other political issues. Download Audio

The Forest Service has a plan for the Tongass National Forest that would shift loggers away from the harvest of old-growth trees and offer the industry young trees instead. At the U.S. Capitol this week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young are working on separate bills to block the plan. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski had a chance to flex some legislative muscle today. As chair of an Appropriations subcommittee, Murkowski writes the legislation that sends money to several agencies and tells them how to spend it. Democrats say her bill is loaded with riders that gut environmental protection. Download Audio

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will return to using its own employees to make appointments for Alaska veterans who need services outside the VA system. Download Audio

An amateur chef from Juneau has won a White House-sponsored recipe competition, and he’s just 9 years old. Denali Schijvens will attend a Kids’ State Dinner in July, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Download Audio

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch intends to visit Alaska on Friday. She plans to discuss public safety concerns of Alaska Natives communities and tribes. Download Audio

Joe Miller didn't file to run for U.S. Senate this year, but the Republican issued a statement last night that has the look of a campaign press release.

Fifteen candidates are running for Lisa Murkowski’s U.S. Senate seat. Only one Murkowski challenger, though, has already raised a sizable war chest: Anchorage attorney Margaret Stock. While Democrats recruited Stock to run, Stock insists she’s no Democrat. Download Audio

Ex-Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan says he didn’t want to file for Sen. Lisa Murkowski's seat until he knew who else was running. Late in the afternoon, he spoke to Murkowski’s 2010 rival, Joe Miller. Download Audio

Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is apparently challenging U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Primary. The news, broken by an ADN reporter on Twitter, raises the prospect that Alaska would have two Republican U.S. Senators named "Dan Sullivan." Download Audio

Congress is considering funding a new icebreaker to serve in the Arctic. It would be a heavy, polar-class Coast Guard cutter, to get through thick ice. But size isn’t everything when it comes to Coast Guard ships. A Juneau man has made a film about the Storis, a dainty icebreaker by polar standards, that rescued mariners and enforced the law along Alaska’s coast for almost 60 years.

Alaska Congressman Don Young will have a say in drafting the final version of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s energy modernization bill. That’s because the U.S. House passed its own energy bill this week, to match the Murkowski bill already passed in the Senate. House leaders then picked Young to serve on the conference committee that will negotiate a compromise between the two bills. Download Audio

The Arctic is one step closer to having a new U.S. icebreaker. The full Senate Appropriations committee this morning passed a bill that includes $1 billion for a heavy duty polar ship. The panel also approved millions in Defense and Coast Guard spending likely to go to Alaska, and to Kodiak in particular. Download Audio
The Coast Guard vessel Healy is considered a medium icebreaker. Photo: USCG.

A U.S. Senate panel has passed a bill that includes $1 billion to build a new polar icebreaker. The subcommittee on Defense Appropriations put the money in the Navy's budget. It’s far from a done deal, though. Download Audio

President Obama has signed a bill that removes the words “Oriental,” “Eskimo” and “Aleut” from two federal programs. But contrary to some social media posts, the new law doesn't make the terms illegal and no one is barred from using them.Download Audio

In Washington, both sides of any Arctic drilling dispute want to show they have locals on their side. Sen. Lisa Murkowski bolstered her case for more offshore leasing with the help of an Arctic Slope mayor. He testified that communities like his need the industry. But other Arctic residents sat in the back of the hearing room, passionately opposed to offshore drilling. Download Audio