Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media
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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

Obama Issues Executive Order on Arctic Co-ordination

President Obama today issued an executive order aimed at coordinating federal action on the Arctic. The order establishes a new Arctic executive steering committee. It will have some two dozen members, including deputy secretaries from the departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Interior. Among the stated goals is to better collaborate with the State of Alaska and Alaska tribes.

Sen. Sullivan Weighs In On State of the Union Topics

President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress is Tuesday night, but the White House has been offering previews of his main proposals for weeks. Alaska’s new Republican Senator, Dan Sullivan, said before the speech he was expecting to hear an overly rosy depiction of unemployment. Download Audio

Murkowski Gains a Second Gavel and Boosts Leverage

Sen. Lisa Murkowski already chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but today she was also named chairman of the Interior subcommittee of the Appropriations panel. The double-barrelled influence over the Department of Interior is "somewhat unprecedented," she says. Download Audio

Keystone XL: Bad for Alaska Crude?

The fight over the Keystone XL Pipeline is likely to heat up in Congress this week. Senate Bill 1 would permit the pipeline to cross the Canadian border into Montana, moving Alberta tar sands oil. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, as the new chairman of the Energy Committee, is leading the Republican charge. But, some Alaskans say she’s pulling for the wrong project. Download Audio

Board Reverses Suspensions Of Former-Sen. Stevens Prosecutors

A review board has reversed the suspensions of two federal attorneys accused of withholding evidence in the prosecution of the late Sen. Ted Stevens. The Merit Systems Protection Board ruled this month that the Justice Department bungled the disciplinary process against the two prosecutors. Download Audio

In Underground Rooms, Sullivan’s Senate Office Takes Shape

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, like other Republicans in Congress, is on a two-day retreat in Hershey Penn. Speakers include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Jay Leno. Meanwhile, Sullivan Chief of Staff Joe Balash provides a status report on new hires and how long he expects they'll work in their underground office. Download Audio

Northern Dynasty Seeking New Business Partner

Northern Dynasty, the company that owns the proposed Pebble Mine, is bolstering its financing as it looks for a new partner.

‘Hire More Heroes Act’ Passes U.S. House Unanimously

Despite the fierce fights waged in Congress over the Affordable Care Act, a bill to loosen the employer mandate sailed through the U.S. House last week. Download Audio

Young, Credited With Effectiveness, Says Personality is Part of his M.O.

Alaska Congressman Don Young was sworn in today for his 22nd term, having missed the main swearing-in last week due to the death of his brother. Recent research by two political scientists say Young is one of the 20 most effective lawmakers in the U.S. House. Nationally, though, he is more known for his big, sometimes brash personality. Young says that's how he likes it. Download Audio

Murkowski Foresees Accord, But Sparks Fly at First Hearing

today . The committee promptly passed the first priority of the Republican leadership: a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada through Nebraska. Murkowski also outlined what she wants the committee to accomplish, which she distilled it down to a bumper sticker: "Energy is good." Download Audio

Gov. Walker Meets With DC Officials

Gov. Bill Walker scheduled meetings with two of President Obama’s cabinet secretaries while he was in Washington Tuesday for the swearing in of Alaska’s new U.S. senator. Download Audio

Murkowski: Keystone XL Pipeline Worth Fighting For

The new Congressional session is barely underway, but Senate Democrats managed to derail Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s plan for Wednesday morning. She’d hoped to hold a hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline in the Senate Energy Committee. Download Audio

Alaska’s New U.S. Senator Takes the Oath

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was sworn in today, in the U.S. Senate Chamber, by Vice President Joe Biden. Sullivan is celebrating the milestone in a series of receptions and dinners in Washington this week, attended by scores of Alaskan supporters and family members. Download Audio

Sullivan Takes Oath Tomorrow, Rep. Young Misses First Week Due to Death of Brother

A new Congress begins tomorrow and former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan will be sworn in as Alaska’s eighth U.S. senator since statehood. Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson says guests for the event include Sullivan's family, Gov. Bill Walker and several state legislators. On the other side of the U.S. Capitol, the entire House of Representatives is to be sworn in tomorrow, but Alaska Congressman Don Young won’t be present, says spokesman Matt Shuckerow. His older brother died a few days ago and Young is in California with family members. Download Audio

Arctic Shipping Chills in 2014

The year 2014 has proved to be a slow one for Arctic shipping. Just 31 ships sailed between Europe and Asia across the Northern Sea Route, and 22 did part of the route. That’s down from a total of more than 70 in 2013. Malte Humpert, executive director of the Arctic Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says this year has served as a reality check on some of the over-heated Arctic predictions of recent years.

Investor Pulls Out of Tulsequah Mine in BC

The company trying to re-open the controversial Tulsequah Chief mine in British Columbia announced a setback this week. It says a big investor is pulling out of the project. Chieftain Metals Company says it will use a bridge loan to repay a $10 million advance from Denver-based Royal Gold. Chieftain had been counting on another $45 million from Royal Gold to develop the mine.

Alaska LNG Export Project Hits A Couple of Bumps in D.C.

Gov. Bill Walker on Tuesday announced an agreement that could help sell Alaska liquefied natural gas in Japan, but the effort to build a trans-Alaska gas pipeline is meeting some resistance in Washington, D.C. Lack of political support there is forcing the federal coordinator for the Alaska gas pipeline to close up shop. Also, opponents of gas exports are raising their voice, and their targets include the pipeline Walker and many Alaskans pin their economic hopes on.

Goodbye, Campaigns. Hello, New Campaign Contributions

The campaign for U.S. Senate is over, but the accounting is not. The latest batch of campaign finance reports show Democrat Mark Begich spent nearly $10 million, and Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan spent$7.6 million, pushing the total spent on the race above $60 million. For some of the big contributors, the giving doesn't end with Election Day. Listen now:

What’s on Gov. Walker’s Federal Wish-List?

Like governors before him, Bill Walker says the item at the top of his federal wish-list is opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Alaska’s congressional delegation has been trying for decades, but Walker believes opening ANWR is politically possible. Download Audio

President Obama Bans Drilling Lease Sales in Bristol Bay

President Obama today extended an executive action that puts Bristol Bay off-limits to oil and gas development. Download Audio