• 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

  • Story Time with Aunt Phil: The WWII battle on the Aleutian chain

    by Laurel Downing Bill on May 26, 12:52

    The battle for the Aleutians became – in proportion to the number of opposing troops – one of the most expensive battles in the Pacific, second only to Iwo Jima. It later was described as the most difficult and dangerous in all modern warfare. U.S. infantry made the first amphibious island landing in its history […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Termination Dust

    by Daybreak Staff on May 26, 12:15

    Dream-pop band Termination Dust will play at the Williwaw in Downtown Anchorage Friday, May 26. They will join The Modern Savage and Alex the Lion. The quartet has released one album, “Familiar Eyes,” which can be purchased on Bandcamp.com. To keep up with the band, you can visit their Facebook page. The concert starts at […]

  • Weather

    Holiday weekend forecast brings variety of weather conditions to Southcentral Alaska

    by Rachael Penton on May 26, 12:10

    If you’re spending some time outdoors in Southcentral Alaska this weekend, be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. A showery weather pattern will keep conditions damp and cooler than normal through Memorial Day. Friday will bring areas of sunshine and mostly dry conditions to start, but scattered showers will again develop across the area during […]

  • DayBreak

    Daybreak Adopt-A-Pet: May 26, 2017

    by Daybreak Staff on May 26, 11:00

    From Anchorage Animal Care and Control: Brett: Brett is a handsome, energetic, playful and affectionate 9-year old boy. He’s a friendly dog who smiles at everyone he meets. Rocky: Rocky is just one of 24 cats up for adoption. All of them would just love a forever home. Caption contest winner: This week’s caption contest […]

  • News

    US Coast Guard says new ships could be stationed in Sitka

    by Associated Press on May 26, 9:13

    SITKA, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard has told Alaska city officials that one or two new ships could be stationed in Sitka. The Daily Sitka Sentinel reported Thursday that Lt. Cmdr. Michael Newell says the Coast Guard is still trying to figure out if it would be feasible to station additional fast response […]

  • News

    Searchers seek 2 missing after boat overturns on Yukon River

    by Associated Press on May 26, 9:07

    BEAVER, Alaska (AP) – Alaska State Troopers are searching for two hunters from the village of Beaver who disappeared after their boat overturned on the Yukon River. A third person in the boat, 45-year-old Kim Andon of Rampart, walked along the river for three days and was found Wednesday about 2 miles  (3.2 kilometers) downriver […]

  • News

    Searchers recover bodies of 2 villagers on egg-hunting trip

    by Associated Press on May 26, 9:02

    SHAKTOOLIK, Alaska (AP) – The bodies of two western Alaska villagers have been recovered from a slough near the village of Shaktoolik. Alaska State Troopers say the bodies of 68-year-old Ella Agibinik of Unalakleet and 75-year-old Dan Takak of Shaktoolik were pulled from the water. Agibinik and Takak had left to hunt for wild bird […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Will Sen. Dan Sullivan protect Alaskans’ health care?

    by John Tracy on May 26, 7:44

    The so-called American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House last month will not be the bill that passes through the Senate. The Obamacare replacement, as written by the House, would cost Alaskans more than anyone else in the country. Thousands of Alaskans who are forced to buy coverage on the exchange market would […]