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

Chamber comes out anti-Begich. That’s the U.S. Chamber

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the latest Outside group to launch campaign ads in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race. The national business lobby has a 30-second video spot running this week that hits Begich and supports one of his Republican challengers, former Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

Report Not Anticipating Near-Term Arctic Increase In Commercial Shipping

Despite reports of a boom in Arctic ship traffic, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office concludes commercial industries aren’t planning to boost shipping through the Bering Strait or elsewhere in the U.S. Arctic over the next decade. Download Audio

Miller Kicks Off Campaign in Wasilla

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller kicked off his campaign last night in Wasilla before a few hundred supporters. Miller drew cheers as he hit on popular Tea Party themes, like abolishing the IRS and ending state surveillance. And he may be the only candidate in the race with a personalized country-western anthem. Download Audio

Miller Kicks Off Campaign in Wasilla

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller kicked off his campaign last night in Wasilla before a few hundred cheering supporters. Amid prayer and patriotic songs, Miller and those introducing him talked about God, guns and government mistrust. Miller drew cheers as he hit on popular Tea Party themes, such as abolishing the IRS and ending state surveillance.
Sen. Kevin Meyer (File photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

Education Activists Wary of Latest School Funding Bill

In Juneau, the latest version of the education funding bill emerged today, and it isn’t what school advocates were hoping for. Senate Finance co-chairman Kevin Meyer says it’s a comprehensive bill that would add $100 million to education, and he says the Republican majority is committed to keeping that money in the budget for each of the next three years. Download Audio

State House Approves 2016 Sunset Date For Alaska Film Tax Credit

The state House voted Thursday to sunset the Alaska Film Tax Credit in 2016. The provision was part of a bill requiring state agencies to report to the Legislature on so-called “lost revenue.” That’s the millions of dollars in revenues the state doesn’t collect each year due to various fee exemptions and tax credits. The bill adds sunset dates to some of them, meaning those programs would expire if lawmakers don’t intervene before then.

Texan Confirmed to Alaska Gasline Board

The Alaska Legislature today confirmed a controversial appointee to the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board of directors after a debate that centered on whether he has Alaska’s interest at heart. Download Audio

House Speaker Adds Agrium to Refinery Assistance Bill

Gov. Sean Parnell’s $150 million-dollar bill to subsidize Alaska’s oil refineries grew to $200 million today, when House Speaker Mike Chenault expanded it to include the Agrium fertilizer plant in Nikiski. Download Audio

Legislature Considers $150m to Help Refineries

The Parnell Administration warns Petro Star’s refinery in North Pole might fold without state assistance. A bill pending in the state House would prop up Alaska’s three remaining oil refineries with $150 million in state funds. But even some legislators who are helping advance the bill say they’re uncomfortable with it. Download Audio

Sullivan Maintains Fundraising Momentum

Republican senate candidate Dan Sullivan has kept up his fundraising momentum. Sullivan’s campaign reports he raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of the year. Download Audio

Murkowski Signs Onto ‘Regulatory Fairness Act’

Leaders in the Bristol Bay area say they’re upset U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has co-sponsored a bill that would undo their biggest regulatory success in fighting the Pebble Mine project. Download Audio

Can an Aggressive Russia Remain Our Nice Arctic Neighbor?

Despite occasional fears in the West of a Russian land grab in the Arctic, Russia has behaved as a good neighbor in its dealings with other countries in the Arctic Council. But Putin's moves in Ukraine has Arctic experts wondering what this means for international relations in the Arctic and whether the era of cooperation with Russia is over. Download Audio

Rio Tinto Gives Pebble Mine Stake to Nonprofits

The mining conglomerate Rio Tinto announced this morning it is divesting its stake in Northern Dynasty, the owner of the proposed Pebble Mine. Rio said in December it might sell, but in a surprise move, the company says it is donating its 19 percent share to two charities, the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation.

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