Articles written by Frank Murkowski


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  • Rewriting state constitution could impede economic development

    Frank Murkowski|Sep 14, 2022

    As a conservative, I subscribe to the principle to leave alone things in government that are working well. We have enough important things that need to change, like high inflation, the Biden administration’s efforts to close down ANWR and reimpose the roadless rule on the Tongass. Alaska's original constitution is one of the things in government that is working well and should be left alone. Article XIII, Section 4 gives voters the opportunity every 10 years to vote on whether Alaska should hold a constitutional convention. Alaska voters h...

  • Forest Service should allow logging of bug-infested trees

    Frank Murkowski|Aug 24, 2022

    It is ironic and absurd to the point of tears. We are told by the 2016 Tongass National Forest Plan, the Biden administration through Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and, of course, by local and national environmental groups that there can be no timber harvest on 9.4 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in the Tongass. Why? To “protect” fish and wildlife, and to save tourists from seeing clearcuts. As it turns out, we need to petition the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service to act decisively to pro...

  • Biden needs to look to Alaska for oil and gas

    Frank Murkowski|Jul 27, 2022

    After saying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a pariah for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Joe Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia to engage with the Arab world. I believe his priorities are out of touch with most Americans. Today, we continue to see escalating oil and gasoline prices and runaway inflation. Yet our president suggests his mission to Saudi Arabia was to contribute “intense diplomacy.” He further pledges to stay aggressive against Russia and out-compete China — yet not one word on the U.S. energy short...

  • Alaska can help solve nation's energy crisis

    Frank Murkowski|May 18, 2022

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dreams almost came true. Over the past few years, the Russian government has promoted development of the vast natural gas resources of the Russian high Arctic to Germany, Poland, and other eastern European countries. Putin planned to have them totally dependent on long-term contractual commitments for their energy needs, formerly provided by coal. Had Putin waited a few years, most of Europe would have become so dependent on Russian gas that they would effectively be held hostage. Putin would have been able t...

  • State ferry system would operate better as its own corporation

    Frank Murkowski|Mar 23, 2022

    I was pleased to learn that the Legislature finally has a bill, Senate Bill 170, to transfer the Alaska Marine Highway System from the Department of Transportation to a separate state-owned corporation similar to the structure of the Alaska Railroad. This would provide something that the ferry system has lacked since its inception: accountability. The state-owned corporation would have its own budget and be managed by its own board of directors. The fact that the ferry system has been part of the Department of Transportation, which also...

  • Alaska could contribute more to world's energy independence from Russia

    Frank Murkowski|Mar 9, 2022

    It is anguishing to reflect on the current news coverage of the Russian assault on Ukraine. Most Americans feel a sense of guilt because of the humanitarian Injustice being done, and we want to provide some meaningful and timely assistance. The contrast between the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky is a stark and living reminder of the chasms between totalitarianism and democracy. Putin is a rabid dictator; Zelensky is a freely elected leader who is rallying his country to arms. I believe it is time that...

  • Alaskans need to know what the Permanent Fund is doing

    Frank Murkowski|Jan 13, 2022

    The successful conservative management and investment philosophy of the Alaska Permanent Fund must be restored. The importance of the Permanent Fund’s contribution to the economy of Alaska cannot be overstated. Its current value is more than $83 billion. The earnings from the fund account for about two-thirds of total state revenue. Without that revenue, we would be close to becoming wards of the federal government, like we were as a territory. Alaskans need to be kept informed of what the trustees are doing with their money. The public must b...

  • Now is the time to create a state ferry corporation

    Frank Murkowski|Nov 10, 2021

    By Frank Murkowski There has been a concentrated effort the past few years to develop a long-term solution to the many problems of our ferry system. The effort has been led by the Alaska Department of Transportation. The department has hired several consulting firms over the years including the Spaulding Group, McDowell Group, Northern Economics and the governor's "reshaping work group," at a cost to the state of several hundred thousand dollars. These reports have done a good job identifying problems, yet very few of their proposed solutions...

  • Forest Service money should go to ferry system

    Frank Murkowski|Oct 21, 2021

    Former and current secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, who was instrumental in reimposing the 2001 roadless rule on the Tongass National Forest in 2011 and is planning to reimpose it again before Nov. 1, has announced a new Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy “to help support a diverse economy, enhance community resilience, and conserve natural resources.” This is to be “a collaborative process to invest approximately $25 million in financial and technical resources in sustainable opportunities for econo...

  • Interior secretary should let ANWR leases proceed

    Frank Murkowski|Oct 7, 2021

    As a former governor of Alaska (2002-2006) and a U.S. senator (1980-2002), I am appalled at the secretary of the Department of the Interior’s cavalier action challenging the legitimacy of recent sales of leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I must remind the secretary that the sale was advertised and consummated with payment made by the state-owned Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and accepted by the U.S. government. Any attempt to void the sale will be seen as a taking, and litigation will result in substantial d...

  • Opinion column

    Frank Murkowski|Jul 29, 2021

    The Alaska Legislature already has been in session for almost six months this year and is scheduled for another special session on Aug. 2. Instead of arguing political ideology, let's concentrate on what is right and what is wrong, and focus on what is right for Alaska. The special session debates are focused on three issues: First, a long-term solution to our budget shortfall; second, an affordable level for the Permanent Fund dividend; and third, the governor's effort to pass a constitutional...

  • Opinion column: Overdrawing the Permanent Fund is not right for Alaska

    Frank Murkowski|Jun 17, 2021

    If our old friend, and my mentor, the late Sen. Ted Stevens were with us today, he would have a short and direct solution to the extended deliberations of the Alaska Legislature and governor. It would be: “Just do what’s right for Alaska.” And he might add a few expletives. It’s past time for our governor and a majority of our legislators to recognize the responsibility of each of them to represent the current as well as the long-range interest of Alaskans. This can only be done by making timely decisions based on sound and established financi...

  • Opinion: Southeast cities should band together to operate ferries

    Frank Murkowski|Apr 29, 2021

    I saw a falling star last night and it reminded me of our Alaska Marine Highway System. Both are in a free fall. We cannot do much about the star, but maybe we can rescue our ferry system. We cannot continue to serve coastal communities with an ever-increasing subsidy. Significant fare increases have caused a substantial decline in ridership, fewer sailings and fewer ships operating. More than half of the fleet is laid up. Rather than elaborate as to the failures of past and current...

  • Opinion: Republicans must act as a party of principles

    Frank Murkowski|Feb 25, 2021

    The Republican Party must soon make some major policy decisions or it will become a split party with two factions - one a single-person party cult and the other a Republican Party based on principles such as small government, free markets, low taxes and individual freedom. I have been around the political system for a long while, and at the end of the day it's a numbers game. You either have the votes or you don't. If you have control, you can set the agenda and usually prevail. If you splinter...

  • Let Me Explain

    Frank Murkowski, Former Governor|Jan 30, 2020

    I am almost a lifetime SE Alaskan and my wife and I are current residents of Wrangell. I moved to Ketchikan in 1943 when I was ten years old and have lived and worked in almost every major Southeast Alaska city including Ketchikan, Juneau, Wrangell and Sitka and played a lot of high school basketball in Petersburg. I continue to invest in institutions that provide services in each of those communities including Haines and Skagway. I cite these facts because I know how sensitive SE residents are...

  • Guest Commentary: Shell exploration cause for optimism in Alaska

    Submitted by Frank Murkowski|Jul 23, 2015

    A dynamic event is underway in Arctic Alaska today: one that, if successful, could have a profound effect on our state’s economy. Shell Alaska is preparing to drill for oil this summer in Alaska’s offshore continental shelf. To date, Shell has expended over $7 billion in gearing up for their effort. They anticipate substantially advancing their delineation effort by the end of this year’s drilling season. A sobering statistic highlights the significance of Shell’s effort: Of the total estimated oil in Alaska—43.8 billion barrels—8...

  • Let me Explain

    Frank Murkowski|Aug 9, 2012

    Make no mistake, the Coastal Zone Planning Initiative that will appear on this August’s Primary Ballot, as Proposition 2 is very different from the Bill that passed the House 40-0 in the 2011 session of the Legislature. Proposition 2 will do nothing more than add more government and another permitting layer that will delay projects and cost jobs. As proof – only 7 out of 60 Alaska Legislators supported what will be Proposition 2 when it was proposed as legislation in the 2012 session of the Legislature. Remember – there had been debate on Co...

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