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Liz Ruskin, APRN

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

Obama Administration Shines Spotlight on Oceans

President Obama announced today he intends to vastly expand the Pacific Remote Islands marine sanctuary, putting a swath of the south-central Pacific off-limits to fishing and energy development. The announcement is part of a high-profile oceans conference taking place this week at the State Department. Australian scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg focused on ocean acidification, which he says undermines the entire marine food chain – from plankton and shellfish to bowhead whales.

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June 17, 2014 - 5:19 pm

Begich Painted as Soft on VA Scandal

Outside political groups are plugging Alaskan airwaves with ads about Sen. Mark Begich. One recent line of attack highlights the scandal at the VA, claiming Begich isn’t helping veterans. We take a closer look at the claim.

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June 13, 2014 - 3:49 pm

Missile Defense Budget Shows Continued Alaska Role

The ground-based missile defense system, which includes interceptors at Fort Greeley, failed at target practice over the Pacific last year. Now the Pentagon is asking Congress for money to overhaul the system. The budget request shows Alaska is likely to remain central to missile defense as the system matures.

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June 11, 2014 - 5:18 pm

Sullivan Calls On Begich To Sign Pledge Discouraging Outside Influence

U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan is calling on incumbent Mark Begich to sign a pledge to discourage outside groups from running political ads in the race. The pledge would impose a financial penalty on a campaign that benefits from Outside spending. Begich campaign isn’t buying it.

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June 10, 2014 - 5:42 pm

Almost All Alaska Vets Seen Within 30 Days At Anchorage VA

Ninty-nine percent of veterans seeking medical appointments from the Anchorage VA are seen within 30 days. That’s according to a Veterans Affairs audit released Monday.

June 10, 2014 - 10:36 am

Federal Fisheries Money Heads to Senate

The U.S. Senate is poised to pass a spending bill that includes more than $150 million for federal programs important to Alaska’s fishing industry and marine navigation, including money for electronic monitoring on fishing boats.

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June 6, 2014 - 4:05 pm

What Do The EPA’s New Carbon Rules Mean For Alaska?

Alaska utilities and policymakers are puzzling over President Obama’s proposal to cut carbon pollution from power plants and what the rules would mean for Alaska. Around the country, the proposal is viewed as a push to get states to clean up their coal plants, but that may not be the easiest way for Alaska to meet its target.

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June 5, 2014 - 5:22 pm

Bergdahl Release Ignites Political Controversy

Former Fort Richardson soldier Bowe Bergdahl was released over the weekend from nearly five years in captivity in Afghanistan. Both of Alaska’s U.S. senators issued warm statements welcoming the news, but in Washington, the price paid for Bergdahl’s release and questions about how he became separated from his unit are igniting a political firestorm.

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June 2, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Committee Moves Bill Updating Magnuson-Stevens Act

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee today moved a bill to update the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary fisheries law in federal waters. Alaska Congressman Don Young amended the bill to allow subsistence fishermen a voice on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

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May 29, 2014 - 5:34 pm

Senate Panel Approves Labeling for GM Salmon

Sen. Lisa Murkowski told the Senate Appropriations Committee she hopes the FDA never allows genetically modified salmon to reach supermarket shelves.
“But we haven’t been able to get the FDA able to slow down off their track of approval,” she said.

So, Murkowski says, they should at least require “that they put on the package of fish: This is a genetically modified salmon.”

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May 22, 2014 - 5:04 pm

Congress Passes Water Bill with Alaska Amendments

Congress has passed a $12 billion water resources bill that may help Alaska gain a deepwater Arctic port, although it doesn’t actually fund one.

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May 22, 2014 - 4:59 pm

Investigators Find No Cover-up at Alaska National Guard

An Army Inspector General found no fault with how the Alaska National Guard handled reports of sexual assault and harassment. At least, that’s how the Inspector General’s office for the Defense Department explained it in a letter to Sen. Lisa Murkowski. She says she won’t comment until she gets a chance to see the IG report for herself.

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May 21, 2014 - 5:28 pm

USFW Wants to Regulate Oil & Gas on Refuges; Young Objects

About 200 national wildlife refuges have oil and gas development. Among them: the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the only refuge in Alaska with active petroleum extraction. The agency that manages refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wants rules to regulate that activity. Alaska Congressman Don Young doesn’t like the idea, and he wasn’t quiet about it at a Congressional hearing today.

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May 20, 2014 - 5:28 pm

Report Says U.S. Participation In Arctic Council Lacks Coordination, Follow-Through

A report released Monday from the Government Accountability Office suggests U.S. participation in the Arctic Council lacks coordination and follow-through.

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May 19, 2014 - 5:22 pm

Earmarks: Congress Mulls Return of Practice that Enriched Alaska

In Sen. Ted Stevens’ day, Alaska thrived on earmarks, the congressional practice of directing federal dollars to home-state projects. Lawmakers agreed in 2011 to end the tradition, in response to public outrage over projects such as Alaska’s so-called “bridge to nowhere.” To this day, nearly every account of alleged excess features as Exhibit A the bridge that would’ve connected Ketchikan to its island airport. But now, there’s serious talk in Washington of bringing back the earmark.

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May 15, 2014 - 3:42 pm
The Billionaire Behind Alice Rogoff

The Billionaire Behind Alice Rogoff

If you’ve heard anything about Alice Rogoff, the woman who recently bought the Anchorage Daily News, you’ll likely know that she’s married to a billionaire who co-founded the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm. David Rubenstein is making headlines with big examples of what he calls “patriotic giving.”

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May 13, 2014 - 5:41 pm
Adm. Ostebo conducts an interview with APRN about increased maritime traffic in the Arctic and the Coast Guard's role. (USCG photo)

Arctic May Not Be That Busy, Report Says

As the ice goes out in the Arctic, many people predict more ships will be drawn through the Bering Straits to take advantage of a shortcut between Asia and Europe. But, a recent government report suggests less ice may not mean more ships.

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May 7, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Policy Change Could Could Create “Indian Country” in Alaska

The U.S. Department of Interior has proposed a rule change that would allow Alaska tribes to ask the federal government to take their lands into trust. The request isn’t always granted, but Wednesday’s announcement is a legal turn that could vastly expand the recognition and authority of tribal sovereignty in Alaska.

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April 30, 2014 - 5:35 pm
Chamber comes out anti-Begich. That’s the U.S. Chamber

Chamber comes out anti-Begich. That’s the U.S. Chamber

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the latest Outside group to launch campaign ads in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race. The national business lobby has a 30-second video spot running this week that hits Begich and supports one of his Republican challengers, former Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

April 29, 2014 - 5:24 pm

Report Not Anticipating Near-Term Arctic Increase In Commercial Shipping

Despite reports of a boom in Arctic ship traffic, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office concludes commercial industries aren’t planning to boost shipping through the Bering Strait or elsewhere in the U.S. Arctic over the next decade.

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April 23, 2014 - 5:48 pm