Murkowski is a moderate in a polarized world. She is always trying to bridge gaps. Since the start of his presidency, and even before, Trump has widened the gaps.
An Alaska state representative wants the federal government to name one of its new polar icebreakers the Polar Bear, in a nod to a historic American vessel.
Retired Adm. Thad Allen, a former Coast Guard commandant, says the country needs to wake up to the strategic importance of the Arctic Ocean and commit more resources to the region.
A Senate proposal has $750 million for a third Coast Guard icebreaker, but that money is caught in a fight over President Trump’s wall at the southern border. Still, there’s more than one way to break ice.
There’s a heavy demand from scientists to use the Coast Guard’s icebreakers to do research in Arctic waters. But with only two icebreakers in its entire fleet, the Coast Guard’s capabilities are limited.
The nation’s annual defense policy bill cleared Congress with a pay raise for the troops and a provision allowing up to six icebreakers.
The hearing turned testy when Congressman Young pressed the Coast Guard to consider leasing an icebreaker from a company whose owners happen to be big contributors to Young’s campaign.
In another effort to increase presence in the Arctic, Murkowski encouraged homeporting a National Security Cutter in Alaska. The closest cutter right now is near San Francisco.
Alaskans of all stripes came out this week for a chance to shake hands with President Barack Obama, or at least glimpse his motorcade, but one person not on hand for the big visit was Don Young, Alaska’s only member of the U.S. House of representatives.
Obama proposed to speed up construction of a heavy icebreaker by two years. He wants the new ship to be polar-ready by the year 2020, rather than 2022.