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Sen. Murkowski News

Wednesday, June 22, 2010 Keeping Alaskans Underway

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Sen. Murkowski christens the M/V Susitna as Randy Johnson, President of Alaska Ship and Drydock, looks on.

It was a pleasure to be in my hometown of Ketchikan recently to christen the new M/V Susitna.

The construction of the M/V Susitna is a tremendous accomplishment, and the performance of the Ketchikan shipyard should be applauded. This project is the product of collaboration between many different partners, including the Office of Naval Research, the Mat-Su Borough and Alaska Ship and Drydock. The Susitna will be owned by the Mat-Su Borough and will be used to provide commuter service between Anchorage and the Mat-Su valley.

In addition to christening the Susitna, I was on hand as the keel was laid for the new airport ferry, the M/V Ken Eichner II, which will be the second airport ferry that the Ketchikan shipyard has built for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

I am so proud that these projects are being done right here in Ketchikan, truly a place where innovation and productivity are alive, well and open for business. Congratulations to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, the Mat-Su Borough, the Office of Naval Research and especially to the men and women of Alaska Ship and Drydock who contributed to the success of these incredible ships.

Murkowski Unveils Legislation Regarding Oil Spill Liability and Process to Expedite Compensation to Gulf Residents

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Sen. Murkowski discusses her bill, the Oil Spill Compensation Act of 2010, at a recent news conferenec.

I recently unveiled legislation that would address several key concerns raised by the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. With the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster still fresh in the minds of Alaskans, I wanted to address the issue of compensation, and my bill includes a provision to expedite payments to those most impacted by the spill. The legislation would establish an administrative process - with an administrator named by the President and confirmed by the Senate - to approve compensation claims without requiring a prolonged court battle. It would also limit attorney fees related to the Gulf spill to 5 percent of compensation.

Entitled the ‘Oil Spill Compensation Act of 2010,' my legislation also would authorize the President to set liability on offshore oil and gas projects on a case-by-case basis using a set of risk factors, including a company's safety record and the depth and pressure of the reserve being developed.

My proposal would also increase the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to $10 billion by raising the fee paid by the oil industry to 21-cents for each barrel of oil produced in or imported to the United States. Increasing the total amount in the fund, which currently has a balance of $1.6 billion, would ensure funding is available to respond in case of future spills.

The bill would also call for increased research and development for oil spill response capability and the setup of a Gulf Regional Citizens Advisory Council (RCAC), in which stakeholders in the Gulf would issue recommendations for changes to policy and practices in the offshore energy field.

If you'd like to read more about my bill, you can find out more on my website.

Responding by mail, e-mail and now, webcast!

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Sen. Murkowski takes questions on her weekly 'Ask Lisa' webcast.

In addition to responding to Alaskans by mail and email, I've been answering some questions from Alaskans through my weekly ‘Ask Lisa' webcast. On each webcast, I take questions from Alaskans and respond to them by a video that is posted to my YouTube page. If you'd like to see the past webcasts, you can visit the "Ask Lisa" page on my website. While there, take a moment and send me a question for an upcoming installment of ‘Ask Lisa.' These webcasts are another resource for me to keep in touch with Alaskans about the work I am doing in Washington.

Murkowski Asks for Mail Delivery Field Hearing in Alaska

I recently wrote to the Postal Regulatory Commission asking the agency to hold a field hearing in Alaska on a Postal Service proposal to reduce mail delivery to five days a week. The Commission wants to eliminate Saturday mail delivery service as a cost-cutting measure, and has scheduled field hearings on the proposal in seven cities in the Lower 48. Co-signing my letter to the Commission were Alaska U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and Hawaii's two U.S. senators, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka. The letter calls for field hearings in both Alaska and Hawaii. We told the Commission that mail delivery is different in Alaska and Hawaii from the other 48 states because of our constituents' reliance on that mail delivery for basic and necessary items. Eliminating Saturday mail delivery is one of the most significant changes ever proposed by the Postal Service, and we believe it is extremely important that the Commission be fully informed about the impact of this proposal on Alaskans.

Murkowski Welcomes Interns to the Alaska Report

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Sen. Murkowski takes questions from her first group of summer interns on the Alaska Report.

On the most recent edition of the Alaska Report, I welcomed the first of two groups of my summer interns. The shows where I take questions from my interns are always among my favorites. I know how beneficial internships can be to young Alaskans who see the legislative process up close and in person. During this Alaska Report, the interns and I discussed a number of issues including energy development in Alaska and education reform.

If you miss this edition of the Alaska Report, it will be available soon on my YouTube page.

Thank you, Interns!

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Sen. Murkowski and her first session summer interns. Pictured with Sen. Murkowski are, front row, from left, intern coordinator Lydia Link, Kenai; Kelsey Wallace, Bethel; Terranova Tasker, Anchorage; Shannon Stough, Palmer; Mariah Shones, Palmer; Virginia Angaiak, Tununak; Laura Solie, Fairbanks; Eva Cress, Anchorage and Thomasia Comeallas, Anchorage. Back row, from left, intern coordinator Matthew Shuckerow, Anchorage; Alexander Deedy, Wasila and Ahmad Nasir, Anchorage.

From the Photo Shop

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Sen. Murkowski visits with students from around Alaska who were in Washington, D.C., to compete in the National History contest held at the University of Maryland.

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The M/V Susitna sits in dry dock during its christening ceremony.

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Recently, Sen. Murkowski appeared on CNN's Sunday morning talk program, "State of the Union." In her appearance, Sen. Murkowski discussed the continuing Gulf Coast oil spill disaster and federal energy policy. Click on the image to see her interview.

Keeping Alaskans Informed on Facebook, Twitter and now on Flickr!

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In addition to my eNewsletter, I am continuing to maintain Facebook and Twitter pages. I am thrilled to see such a strong following on both networks. My Facebook and Twitter pages are great ways for you to keep up on the work I am doing here in Washington. If you have not done so already, I invite you to check me out on Facebook and Twitter and follow my work in the Senate for Alaska.

In addition, I recently launched my new Flickr photo page where I'm posting the latest photos that highlight my travels around Alaska and my work in Washington.

A Note About the Senate Rules

Pursuant to Senate policy, I am restricted from using certain internet services 60-days prior to a primary or general election. While press releases and upcoming events on my website will remain up-to-date, some features, like this e-newsletter, will be restricted. During this time, I encourage you to visit my website for the latest news and issue updates. I'll be sending out an e-newsletter in August when I am not subject to this ‘blackout' period before the November general election. I will look forward to updating you on my activities and work in the Senate at that time.

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