Liz Ruskin, APRN
lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Liz
An appropriations bill authored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski would undo two of the Obama administration’s highest profile environmental efforts, and compel a land exchange to build a road in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, to connect King Cove and Cold Bay.
The safety of drilling in Arctic seas was debated at a congressional hearing this morning. Advocates of development say requiring a relief rig isn’t necessary for blowout response.
The fire grew modestly on Monday, to 7,555 acres. (A previous estimate of 8,500 acres was revised downward.) Today’s forecast calls for warm, dry weather with possible dry thunderstorms. The Type 1 Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team takes command of the firefighting effort at 7 a.m.
New York dancer and choreographer Jody Sperling had a rare opportunity last year. She was an artist-in-residence aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy while it was on a research mission in the Arctic. Alone on vast ice floes, she danced while no one watched.
Congressman Don Young’s subcommittee on Native affairs took testimony today on a bill to re-open land allotment selections for Alaska Natives who served in the military during the Vietnam War.
The House this week passed a transportation and housing bill. Rep. Don Young says it includes programs important to Alaska aviation, while the White House says it shortchanges homeless programs and transit.
A U.S. Senate committee today heard pleas for better treatment of crime victims in Native communities. Gerad Godfrey, chairman of an Alaska victims’ compensation panel, recommends sexual assault rapid response teams for Alaska villages.
Alaska Congressman Don Young tied the knot today, on his 82nd birthday. Young married 76-year-old Anne Garland Walton, a flight nurse from Fairbanks. She says his birthday cakes will never be the same.
Sen. Dan Sullivan is out of the basement. His staff announced today that they’ve moved to their new office location in the nation’s capital, on the 7th floor of the Hart Building.
The Federal Election Commission slapped Sen. Dan Sullivan’s campaign with a fine of nearly $3,000 for failing to disclose donations. The total amount of the donations in question comes to just over $25,000. Most — if not all – of them appear to be from out of state.
The U.S. Army has decided to base nine Gray Eagle drones at Fort Wainwright. The delegation says 128 military personnel, plus family members, will begin moving to the area next month.
The U.S. Senate today voted to curtail the National Security Administration’s collection of bulk phone data. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was an early sponsor of the reform. Sen. Dan Sullivan says he became convinced the bill was a good revision to the controversial parts of the 2001 Patriot Act.
A bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act passed the U.S. House this evening, largely on party lines. Alaska Congressman Don Young says the bill makes practical revisions to continue a law that has restored the health of America’s fisheries. Opponents says it weakens environmental law.
The House today voted to sell a 9-acre lot in Anchorage to the Municipality, at fair market value. The property at 40th and Denali Street, once intended for the National Archives, is one of the largest undeveloped lots in Midtown.
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.