Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at

Senate Ratifies Treaties to Stop Fish Piracy

The U.S. Senate yesterday ratified two international treaties to crack down on illegal international fishing. One is an agreement to restrict ships from using ports if they engage in what’s known as IUU fishing. Download Audio

Young Lights into Interior Secretary Over King Cove

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell already rejected a plan to build a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to link King Cove to the all-weather airport at Cold Bay. These days, all three members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation are trying to get her to change her mind, and today was Congressman Don Young’s turn to press the case. Download Audio

Tribal Judge: Bill to Improve Village Public Safety Doesn’t Go Far Enough

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee today looked at a raft of bills aimed at improving the safety of Native American communities, including Alaska Native villages. A bill that would strengthen Alaska tribal courts and tribal law enforcement drew no opposition at the hearing, but the bill is likely to become more controversial. Download Audio

Investigation Of Alaska National Guard Sexual Assault Allegations Underway

The head of the federal National Guard Bureau says the investigation now underway into allegations of sexual assault and harassment within the Alaska National Guard should not be hidden away.

Landmark Subsistence Decision Stands

The Katie John lawsuit over subsistence fishing rights is finally over. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will not review a lower court’s decision to leave standing federal rules that provide a rural subsistence priority on 60% of Alaska’s inland waters. Download Audio

Boost in B.C. Mining has Alaska Fishermen Nervous

The head of British Columbia’s government has pledged to spur mining development in the western Canadian province, and that has fishermen in Southeast Alaska nervous. A group from Southeast flew to Washington D.C. this week to see how it can raise its voice in Canada. Download Audio

Seismologists, Lawmakers Call For Earthquake Early Warning System

In Congress today, a House subcommittee marked the 5oth anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake with a hearing focused on what scientists have learned from that event that can prepare the nation for the next big temblor or tsunami. Seismologists and several lawmakers said Congress needs to pony up for an earthquake early warning system. Download Audio

Murkowski Presses Demand for King Cove Road

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she’s normally not one for drama, but she has stepped up the rhetoric on one issue: The King Cove road. Murkowski says Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is the only person standing between the people of King Cove and their access to an all-weather airport for medical evacuations Jewell went before a Senate panel to defend the president’s budget today and Murkowski seized the opportunity. Download Audio

Murkowski: Clean Water Act Rule a Threat to Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposal today that critics say would expand the reach of the Clean Water Act to cover most creeks and wetlands across the country. The EPA says the rule would not broaden its jurisdiction. It says the rule just clarifies that most seasonal and rain-dependent streams are protected, as are wetlands near streams. Download Audio

Ex-Secretary of State Endorses Sullivan in Tight U.S. Senate Race

Former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice stars in an ad for Republican challenger Dan Sullivan. The ad aims to quash the argument of a pro-Begich super PAC that Sullivan belongs more to the Beltway than to Alaska. Meanwhile, the Begich campaign is airing an ad showing footage of both the senator and of his Congressman father, campaigning across Alaska by small airplane, four decades apart. Download Audio

Alaska Highway Money Not an Easy Sell to Congress

The government of Canada’s Yukon Territory is asking Congress to pay for reconstruction of the Alaska Highway. Premier Darrell Pasloski was in Washington recently to make the case. A spokesman for Congressman Don Young says it's the right thing to do, but it will take political pressure. Download Audio

Lessons from the Exxon Valdez

Twenty-five years ago today, Alaska was about to mark the anniversary of the 1964 Earthquake, and, unknown to all, was less than four days from its next big disaster: the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Today in Washington, environmentalists who’ve been dealing with the spill and its political effects for all these years met to publicize what they say are the lessons of the Exxon Valdez. Download Audio

The Koch Effect: Two Rich Guys Democrats Love to Hate

In Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, there’s been so much talk about the billionaire Koch Brothers you might think they were running for office. They’re not, though a Koch-affiliated group has already spent close to $1 million on ads against Mark Begich. The Cook Political Report today declared the race a toss-up and Begich one of the Senate’s most endangered Democrats. But the well funded anti-Begich ad campaign may not be having the desired effect. Download Audio

IRS Gives a Little on Air Taxi Tax

The IRS has given a sliver of ground in how it has applied tax rules to air taxi flights. Sen. Mark Begich is calling it a win for small air carriers, but Joy Journeay, executive director of the Alaska Air Carriers Association, says the concession is less than it appears. Download Audio

State Sues Feds Over Arctic Refuge Exploration

The state of Alaska filed a lawsuit last week against the federal government for rejecting Gov. Sean Parnell’s application to explore the geology of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Interior Department says the window for such oil and gas exploration in the refuge closed in 1987.

Ahtna Goes to Congress For Role in Game Management

Alaska tribes and rural hunters have long complained that the dual federal-state game management system is hard to live by and doesn’t give subsistence users their due. Today, Ahtna Inc., the smallest of Alaska’s Regional Native Corporations, presented a proposal for co-management of game to a Congressional panel. Download Audio

While FDA Mulls Genetically Modified Salmon, Supermarkets Back Away

The head of the Federal Drug Administration told a U.S. Senate committee today her agency is still working on its review of an application to produce a genetically modified salmon. Download Audio

Arctic is Top Priority for Homeland Security – But One of Many

Sen. Lisa Murkowski today pressed the Secretary of Homeland Security to make the Arctic a priority for the Administration, particularly for the Coast Guard. She got no disagreement. Download Audio

Anchorage’s National Archives Office Closing

The government’s top archivist, David Ferriero announced today the Anchorage branch of the National Archives will close this year. Download Audio

Sarah Palin, Superstar, Rocks Conservative Faithful

Sarah Palin fired up thousands of conservative activists who came to hear her give the closing speech of the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C. this weekend. Palin hasn’t held elected office since she resigned as Alaska governor in 2009. But at this gathering of 11,000, she was an A-list celebrity.