• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 51s

Murkowski tells lawmakers to fight back against federal overreach

By Rhonda McBride 6:44 AM February 20, 2014

“Man the dozers,” said Senate President Charlie Huggins.

JUNEAU – Sen. Lisa Murkowski told the state Legislature she’s worn a lot of hats over the years, but she’s ready to put on a new one.

“In addition to my role as mediator and ambassador and all that, I can also be a hellraiser,” said Murkowski, who vented to lawmakers about her battle with the U.S. Department of the Interior over a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

“I’m going to channel my inner Ted Stevens, and we’re going to get this road,” said the Republican senator.

Murkowski called the interior department’s refusal to allow a 10-mile road from King Cove to Cold Bay “heartless and absolutely wrong.”

“It is emblematic as to how the federal government believes that it has to somehow protect Alaska from Alaskans,” Murkowski said. “That we can’t be counted on to be good stewards of the land, that we can’t somehow be trusted with that. There is far more at stake here than a road.”

The road, as proposed, would be used only in emergencies to avoid dangerous medevacs out of King Cove.

Murkowski said interior department officials told her to “get over it,” and that there would be no road.

In a news conference after her speech, Murkowski was asked if she would support an act of civil disobedience by the community.

“I have told the people of King Cove I am going to do everything within my power to help,” said Murkowski, promising to find ways to force the interior department and the Obama administration to revisit this issue. She said she could do this by holding up nominees for appointments or through direct confrontation.

“I am going to take it to that level. If the people of King Cove believe, perhaps rightly so, that civil disobedience is what it will take to get a level of attention to this, you’re not going to find me standing in the way,” Murkowski said.

It’s not clear in what way King Cove could defy the federal government.  A spokesperson for the Aleutians East Borough said via email that it has nothing to say about the potential for civil disobedience, but the borough remains committed to trying to convince the interior department it has a responsibility to provide safe access to Cold Bay.

From timber to resource development to Shell Oil’s battles over offshore development, Murkowski gave lawmakers a long list of what she considers federal overreach and called on lawmakers to be more aggressive in fighting for development and protecting state rights.

On the Senate floor later in the day, Sen. Click Bishop, a Fairbanks Republican, brought up the battle over the King Cove road. He said he thought it was disrespectful for a senator to be told “to get over it.”

Bishop said he would have called back to say he had slept on it, got past it — 10 miles past it.

“Man the bulldozers,” Senate President Charlie Huggins responded.

Perhaps lawmakers were channeling the late Gov. Wally Hickel, who cut a road through wilderness, crossing the Brooks Range and ending at Prudhoe Bay. The road was completed in 1969, with Hickel under fire from national environmental organizations.

Modern environmental groups seek to protect the Izembek refuge, which they call critical habitat for birds.  They also say allowing a road in one refuge would open the door to other roads elsewhere.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Weekend weather forecast

    by KTVA Weather on Jan 24, 18:29

    Many areas across the Anchorage Bowl saw 3 to 5 inches of snow accumulation with this last snowfall. High pressure is already building in from the east, and it will produce lots of sunshine across the area as we head into Sunday. The trade-off will be pure cold weather with many locations barely getting out […]

  • Sports

    South Anchorage football hires Chris Borst, former Dimond head coach

    by KTVA Sports on Jan 24, 15:21

    After spending five seasons as head football coach for Dimond High School, Chris Borst is moving across town to coach alongside John Lewis at South. Citing differences in coaching philosophies, Borst left Dimond at the end of the 2014 football season. Former Lynx strength coach Nick Winkler will take over head-coaching duties at Dimond. This is […]

  • Politics

    Palin for president? Former AK governor ‘seriously interested’ in 2016 bid

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 14:36

    Sarah Palin is “seriously interested” in running a 2016 campaign for the White House, according to a recent interview with the Washington Post. The former Alaska governor, the GOP’s 2008 nominee for vice president – and current star of the Sportsman Channel’s Amazing America with Sarah Palin — was asked by the Washington Post whether she was considering […]

  • News

    Anchorage man fatally struck by vehicle in Las Vegas area

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 13:31

    An Anchorage man was struck and killed by a vehicle Thursday evening in the Las Vegas area as he crossed a highway, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety. According to other local news outlets in the area, the Clark County coroner’s office has identified the man as 57-year-old Aarnout Michael Berry, of Anchorage. At […]

  • News

    Army soldiers at JBER, Fort Wainwright at risk of being cut

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 12:39

    U.S. Army officials are holding meetings with 30 communities across the country as decisions are being made about where to cut around 120,000 troops by 2017. Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright are on the list of bases where reductions could be made. Municipality of Anchorage staff are told that it will be up to […]

  • News

    Anchorage police: 58-year-old male found safe

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 12:35

    UPDATE: Anchorage police say Marion Dale Quint has been located and is safe. Original story The Anchorage Police Department is asking for public help finding a missing 58-year-old man last seen Saturday morning. Marion Dale Quint left his assisted living home on foot around 9 a.m., according to a statement from APD. The assisted living home […]

  • Politics

    Gov. Walker: Not easy to be the messenger

    by Rhonda McBride on Jan 24, 12:04

    Gov. Bill Walker said, for the first time in a long time, he had a good night’s sleep after he delivered his State of the Budget address on Thursday. He said it felt good to get the job done. “It was a critical message to get out to Alaskans,” said Walker. The governor said the […]

  • News

    New report reveals behavioral health crisis in Mat-Su

    by Kate McPherson on Jan 23, 23:18

    Not enough is being done to help Mat-Su Valley residents with mental health and substance abuse problems, according to a new report published by the Mat-Su Health Foundation. The report examined the care Mat-Su residents receive when they are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, brought on by mental health and substance abuse problems. A lack […]