Trump Administration Threatens Alaska After Sen. Murkowski Votes Down 'Skinny Repeal' of Obamacare

Erica Martinson | July 28, 2017

Trump Administration Threatens Alaska After Sen. Murkowski Votes Down 'Skinny Repeal' of Obamacare
President Donald Trump isn't going to just let go of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's no vote Tuesday against debating Obamacare repeal. Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski's vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska's two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy. The response follows Trump's no-holds-barred style of governing, even when it comes to his own party. It is his first strike of retaliation against Murkowski, however, despite her tendency to stray from the party line and the president's priorities.

Spotlight

The North Slope Region of Alaska encompasses an area of nearly 95,000 square miles across northern Alaska with eight vibrant, yet isolated communities. The majority of its residents are Iñupiat. For much of the year, the region isin darkness, with temperaturesstaying well below zero. None of the eight North Slope communities are connected by road, making the movement of goods and people dependent primarily on air and water transportation. The geography and harsh environment make staying warm and generating electricity difficult and expensive. As energy costs continue to rise and new energy technology emerges, leaders have recognized the need to develop a new coordinated energy approach to bring costs down while maintaining or improving the level ofservice. This push to improve energy optionsis not new. In the 1970s, oil and gasrevenues from the North Slope began to dominate Alaska’s economy. With the wealth resulting from this development, the North Slope Borough (NSB) constructed energy infrastructure projectsincluding modern power plants and local electrical distribution lines. They also gave energy subsidiesto local residents to help offset the high cost of heating their homes and using electricity. But, even asthe infrastructure took shape, leaderslooked to the future and began to advocate energy resource management, energy conservation, and alternative energy development. These topics were the focus of priorities adopted by the NSB Assembly in 1981. Unfortunately, these priorities were not fully implemented. This energy plan isintended to honor the cultural wisdom of sustainable planning understood by those early leaders by presenting a path to implement their priorities, now and far into the future.


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Spotlight

The North Slope Region of Alaska encompasses an area of nearly 95,000 square miles across northern Alaska with eight vibrant, yet isolated communities. The majority of its residents are Iñupiat. For much of the year, the region isin darkness, with temperaturesstaying well below zero. None of the eight North Slope communities are connected by road, making the movement of goods and people dependent primarily on air and water transportation. The geography and harsh environment make staying warm and generating electricity difficult and expensive. As energy costs continue to rise and new energy technology emerges, leaders have recognized the need to develop a new coordinated energy approach to bring costs down while maintaining or improving the level ofservice. This push to improve energy optionsis not new. In the 1970s, oil and gasrevenues from the North Slope began to dominate Alaska’s economy. With the wealth resulting from this development, the North Slope Borough (NSB) constructed energy infrastructure projectsincluding modern power plants and local electrical distribution lines. They also gave energy subsidiesto local residents to help offset the high cost of heating their homes and using electricity. But, even asthe infrastructure took shape, leaderslooked to the future and began to advocate energy resource management, energy conservation, and alternative energy development. These topics were the focus of priorities adopted by the NSB Assembly in 1981. Unfortunately, these priorities were not fully implemented. This energy plan isintended to honor the cultural wisdom of sustainable planning understood by those early leaders by presenting a path to implement their priorities, now and far into the future.

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