• 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

  • Politics

    House passes budget with CBR funding

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 30, 0:49

    Shortly after midnight, the House of Representatives voted 32-8 to pass the 2016 operating budget for the state of Alaska. In a vote of 39 to 1, the House voted to use the Constitutional Budget Reserve to fund the budget. Rep. Lora Reinbold was the only nay in the roll call. The budget, House Bill […]

  • Politics

    Legislative Update: Still no budget as debate continues

    by Kate McPherson on May 29, 22:59

    KTVA 11 News’ Kate McPherson was at the newly renovated LIO building to listen in on the continuing debate over the state’s 2016 budget. Contact Kate McPherson at kmcpherson@ktva.com

  • Sports

    Former student gives back to East High School in big way

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 22:55

    Dr. Eugene Chang says he is grateful to East High School for what he has accomplished in his life. He’s taken a huge step to repay his gratitude: The orthopedic surgeon and his wife donated $143,000 to the school, which will use the money to pay for a new scoreboard. The scoreboard is needed in […]

  • News

    Sneak Peek: New visitor center welcomes Kenai adventurers

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 22:27

    The grand opening for the Kenai Wildlife Refuge’s new visitors center is scheduled for Saturday, May 30, at 1:30 p.m. The $9 million upgraded facility will replace the old visitors center next door, and offers visitors a chance to explore habitats in Alaska in the exhibit “From Ice Fields to Oceans.” “It’s hard to really […]

  • News

    Anchorage stylist ‘pays it forward’ with free haircuts

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 29, 22:13

    An Anchorage hair stylist is “paying it forward” by offering free haircuts to people in need. So far, Joseph Williams has given more than 30 haircuts at his business, Karma Cuts, and has no plans to stop. Williams says the philosophy behind the idea is pretty simple: “You put out the good and you get good […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, May 29

    by KTVA Weather on May 29, 20:05

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Sunny and warmer. Near-record temperatures for some south central locations.   Southeast Decreasing clouds with patch fog in the morning as the ridge of high pressure continues to bring quiet and stable weather.   Interior/North Slope Mostly sunny with patchy morning fog except for northern areas like Fort Yukon where there […]

  • News

    From rescued to rescuer: Alaska search and rescue volunteers give back

    by Elizabeth Raines on May 29, 20:05

    Brian Aho knows a thing or two about hiking and climbing. He’s been doing it since he was a kid, when he used to take trips with his dad and younger brother in the back country. “We would sit down and pull out the maps, get a pencil out, and we’d go through the whole […]

  • News

    Lifeguards ask parents’ help to keep watch over their children in Alaska’s waters

    by Shannon Ballard on May 29, 19:23

    On days as nice as Friday, Anchorage resident Maggie Eisert says taking her kids to Jewel Lake is the routine. “We have to take advantage of the nice, warm — well, what we would consider hot — weather,” Eisert said. Jewel Lake is one of only two manned beaches in Anchorage. Lifeguard Morgan Brown says the […]