• 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

  • News

    Human remains discovered after Togiak house fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 04, 10:28

    Human remains were found in a bedroom after a house fire in Togiak, authorities say. Around 6:40 a.m. Thursday, a Togiak Village Police Officer notified Alaska State Troopers in Iliamna of a house fire, according to an online dispatch from AST. The VPO said the fire did not spread to a neighboring home and that […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Sept. 4

    by Rachael Penton on Sep 04, 10:02

    Anchorage Cloudy with rain during the morning and scattered showers for the afternoon. Highs in the mid to upper 50s. Kenai and Prince William Sound Cloudy with rain in the morning and scattered showers for the afternoon. Highs in the 50s. *A flood advisory is in effect through 1:45 p.m. for low-lying areas around Kenai […]

  • DayBreak

    Meet Sunkist, this week’s Daybreak Adopt-A-Pet

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 04, 8:38

    From the Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center:  This boy can’t resist climbing on to your shoulders because he is determined to be loved — and he is 16 pounds of pure love. Sunkist is exuberantly outgoing and loves to hold a conversation (he can hold a meow like an opera singer holds a note). […]

  • News

    Invasive plant spreads to Interior Alaska beyond Fairbanks

    by Associated Press on Sep 04, 7:27

    An invasive plant species previously thought to only have invaded Interior waterways around Fairbanks has been spotted north of Nenana. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1LP5Ifq) that federal agencies have confirmed that elodea has been found in Totchaket Slough, a small side stream of the Tanana River about 12 miles from Nenana. Elodea is a […]

  • News

    The deal is off: Berkowitz says muni won’t trade park land to airport

    by Daniella Rivera on Sep 03, 23:07

    A controversial land swap between the Municipality of Anchorage and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is off, according to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. The deal would have turned some of Point Woronzof Park and part of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail into a runway. Many people in Anchorage who enjoy the park and trail and have been […]

  • News

    French investigators: Wing part is from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

    by CBS News on Sep 03, 22:35

    French investigators have formally identified a washed-up piece of airplane debris found in July on a remote island in the Indian Ocean as part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard. Investigators have been examining the wing part, called a flaperon, since it was […]

  • Lifestyle

    Swift swine race at the Alaska State Fair

    by Shannon Ballard on Sep 03, 21:15

    Which little piggy will win the big pig races the Alaska State Fair? Three times a day, six piglets get geared up and ready to run. They have some creative names, like Ham Solo and Lord Voldepork, but what you might not realize is these piggies sprint at about 17 miles per hour. They are American […]

  • On-Air

    Alaska Fishing Report for Sept. 3, 2015

    by Carlos Faura on Sep 03, 21:09

    Anchorage Lakes are getting better with the cooling water. Campbell Creek is OK for silvers and trout. Some silvers in Ship Creek below the dam.   Mat-Su Valley streams are getting better for trout. Lakes are cooling — that is good for fishing. Salmon runs are quickly winding down in the streams and rivers.   […]