• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: Latest updates on McHugh Creek Fire - Read More
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

  • Lifestyle

    Pokemon Go’s popularity could fatten up Apple

    by CBS News on Jul 22, 21:24

    People from coast to coast are falling in love with Pokemon Go, and so are some companies. Count Apple (AAPL) among them. With a share price that has been under pressure this year because of disappointing earnings, Apple may wind up with an unexpected bottom-line boost from Pokemon Go. Though the game is free to download, […]

  • Lifestyle

    Attu: A birding paradise

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 22, 19:23

    No one lives on the Aleutian island of Attu, but every year people pay thousands of dollars to travel to the remote location for one reason — the birds. “You can see species here that you can’t find anywhere else in North America,” said Marianne Aplin, visitor service supervisor for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife […]

  • Politics

    Hillary Clinton picks Tim Kaine to be vice president

    by CBS News on Jul 22, 16:28

    Hillary Clinton says in a text message to supporters that she’s picked Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to join her on the Democratic ticket as their party’s nominee for vice president. In the message, Clinton says: “I’m thrilled to tell you this first: I’ve chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate.” Top Clinton aides had […]

  • Politics

    Walker hires former attorney general as oil, gas consultant

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 15:59

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Gov. Bill Walker has hired Craig Richards as an oil and gas consultant, less than a month after Richards resigned as Alaska’s attorney general. Walker’s office on Friday released the contract signed earlier this week. The contract runs through year’s end and is for up to $50,000. Richards resigned last month […]

  • News

    Alaska unemployment rate stays at 6.7 percent in June

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 15:38

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska’s unemployment stood at 6.7 percent in June, unchanged from a month earlier and up slightly from a year ago. The state Department of Labor says the slight uptick suggests that Alaska’s economy is responding slowly to low oil prices and the challenges facing state government because of those prices. From […]

  • DayBreak

    Fashion Friday: Stock up & save at Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in Anchorage

    by Sierra Starks on Jul 22, 14:40

    The much-anticipated Nordstrom anniversary sale begins Friday, July 22. Shoppers can anticipate major discounts through the sale’s end on Aug. 8, says Kari Skinner with Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale will offer more than just marked-down merchandise from last season; there’s also new merchandise up for grabs at a fraction of the price, Skinner […]

  • Lifestyle

    Are lightning strikes becoming more common?

    by Amy Kraft / CBS News on Jul 22, 14:24

    There have been 16 deaths from lightning in the U.S. so far this year. With seven of those fatalities occurring in the month of July — including three in the past week – it might seem as though lightning strikes are suddenly becoming more common. But over the past decade, the number of injuries and deaths caused […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Rico G TheMayor

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 22, 13:57

    In 2010, Rico G TheMayor started his own record label, Goodfellas Music. Now, the homegrown rapper Rico is set to release a new album in September. His single “Way Out” is already out on iTunes and you can check out his music on SoundCloud. For more on how he started his own career, check out the video […]