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

A federal appeals court last week ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was following the law when it designated a California-sized piece of the Alaskan Arctic as critical habitat for the polar bear. Let's take a look at this designation and what it could mean for the industry.

Alaska’s congressional delegation has introduced bills that would require genetically engineered salmon to go by a market name that includes the terms “genetically engineered” or “G.E.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she’s still hearing disaster stories about the VA's Choice program. And, she says, some Alaska vets who used Choice to get medical appointments in the private sector now find collection agencies are after them because the VA hasn’t paid their claims. Download Audio
Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks on the senate floor. (YouTube screenshot/Sen. Lisa Murkowski)

When President Obama was in Alaska last year, he said he wanted to advance plans for a deepwater port in the Alaskan Arctic, possibly in Nome. Today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski followed up on that with the head of the Army Corps of Engineers. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan wouldn’t tell reporters which presidential candidate he's voting for on Super Tuesday, but he did weigh in on a racism controversy enveloping front-runner Donald Trump. Sullivan was in Juneau for his annual speech to Alaska lawmakers, in which he stressed the importance of a strong military presence in the state.

It was a busy morning for Rep. Don Young. On U.S. House floor, he took on a trio of iconic Alaska issues – polar bears, state sovereignty and a wilderness proposal for the Arctic Refuge. Young prevailed on all three. Download audio
An F-35 flies over Florida (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force plan to station two squadrons of F-35s at Eielson Air Force Base cleared a milestone with the publication of the final environmental impact statement. It says the basing decision would not significantly harm Fairbanks air quality or harm wildlife, other than an increase of about 14 bird strikes per year. Download audio

Top Army officials gave their clearest statements yet that they might cancel or postpone the reduction of troops from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Sen. Dan Sullivan calls the testimony important, but says efforts to preserve the 4-25th aren't a done deal. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski chairs the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Tuesday, she used that platform to grill Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on a number of issues in – or not in – the president’s budget, including the King Cove road. Download Audio

More than 100 members of the Alaska Air National Guard are deploying to the Middle East this week. The guard says most of them are part of an airlift squadron, flying C-130s. Others come from Guard maintenance units.

The Alaska Democratic Party is suing to open its ballot to non-partisan candidates. Democrats say they want to be more inclusive. Some Republicans allege the Democrats are trying to pull a fast one. Download Audio

Gov. Bill Walker asked President Obama today to allow more oil drilling on federal land. Obama told him and other governors that oil producing states should prepare for a shift to cleaner energy. Download Audio

Critics of Sen. Lisa Murkowski are seizing on what they see as a flip-flop in her position on whether Barack Obama should be the president who chooses the next justice of the Supreme Court. In Juneau on Wednesday, Murkowski said she expected Obama would soon nominate someone to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, and she clearly stated her position on what should happen next. Download Audio

Yesterday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she believes it’s “important” that the Senate hold a hearing on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. “I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing," she said then. Today, on Twitter, Murkowski essentially said there should be no nominee. Download Audio

A new report raises doubts about whether the missile defense system housed largely at Fort Greely can protect the U.S. from a North Korean attack. The GAO says the Missile Defense Agency is compromising reliability with a rushed schedule as it expands the number of interceptors at Greely to 40. Download Audio

For her annual address to the Alaska Legislature, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski tucked her Senate accomplishments into a speech that was decidedly homey and reassuring. The theme: "Certainty." Download Audio

The death of Justice Scalia has unclear implications for one Alaska-specific case: Sturgeon v. Frost. Oral arguments in the case last month were the last formal arguments Scalia heard. Download Audio

A bill to privatize the nation’s air traffic controllers cleared the Transportation Committee in the U.S. House last night. Rep. Don Young says he amended it to protect Essential Air Service and Alaska's air taxis. Download Audio

President Obama’s 2017 Air Force budget would slow the pace of buying F-35s. That’s the new fighter jet slated for Eielson Air Force Base. But top Air Force officials still speak highly of the plan to station them at the Fairbanks base. Never mind that one general lost consciousness when discussing the F-35's budget. Download Audio

President Obama’s 2017 Air Force budget would slow the pace of buying F-35s, the new fighter jet slated for Eielson Air Force Base. But the Air Force chief of staff still speaks highly of the plan to keep them at the Fairbanks base.