Murkowski: Alaska’s Place in Nation’s Economy

By Dave Donaldson

Senator Lisa Murkowski today  gave her annual report to the state legislature,   focusing on the national economy and pointing at what she called the federal government’s “flawed,” short-term approach to fixing it.   

In Washington,  hope springs eternal that the economy will boom before people realize it’s busted.  On Main Street that’s just not selling.

Senator Lisa Murkowski telling legislators that where Alaska’s economy is less established than other states,  where the needs are great and where it is expensive to do business,  Alaska is still last in attracting investment and industry. And she blamed what she called the oppression of the federal government, public interest litigation groups and the federal court system for the state’s status.

She took the opportunity to promote growth of the Petroleum industry.  Saying it supplies most of the state’s income and it’s under attack.  She said oil will decline over the years as an energy source,  but America and the world will still need it.

And for the sake of our nation’s economy,  for the sake of our national security,  and — I very strongly believe — for the sake of the world’s environment,  the more of America’s oil supply we produce domestically, the better off we are.

Murkowski pointed to problems with new, proposed taxes on the oil industry,  permits refused for development of the National Petroleum Reserve, the implication of air quality standards on offshore development and what she called the “giant federal hammer” — the listing and designation of critical habitat for land and marine mammals.

She said even if more development is allowed, it will be a decade before new projects put oil in the TransAlaska Pipeline.  She said that’s where the state needs to help.

In the meantime, it’s critical that Alaska do its part to maintain the viability of our petroleum industry,  so that the producers have got a reason to stay and that those global companies who have not been involved in Alaska, have a reason to come.

Murkowski praised legislative efforts to curb domestic violence and promised to work to expand services to veterans.  She also recognized the need to promote vocational and technical education to cut the dropout rate in the state’s schools.

The speech was well-received — interrupted by applause eight times.  And Juneau Democrat Beth Kerttula — the House Minority Leader — disagreed on some points, but she also found a lot of points where she could identify with the Senator’s message.  She, too, would prefer to see decisions made closer to home,  if they impact the state.

At times I feel the feds do come down too heavy handed on Alaska.  On the other hand, some of the initiatives , certainly in terms of climate change, in terms how we’re going to deal with our oceans, some of those things can only be done on a federal level.  So we’ve got to be working right with the federal government.

Murkowski is running for re-election this year,  but has no opposition in the Republican Primary.


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