tv Sen. Lisa Murkowski CSPAN September 2, 2018 1:08am-1:35am EDT
geraldine brooke. c-span two.n this summer, c-span with the help of our partners spent time in alaska. we spoke with republican senator lisa murkowski who has served since 2002. senator lisa murkowski of alaska. there are not too many third-generation alaskans around, is there? sen. murkowski: it's getting to the more and more. we are contributing with a fourth-generation. we have boys who are staying in the state.
it is something i am proud of. i love my state, and i love my family's history there. >> what brought your grandparents there? sen. murkowski: the story from my dad's side is that everybody wanted to come up for the gold. he made it to the most southern community, and realized he did not have enough money to get to the goldfield so he stayed there and went to work in a bank where he cashed out the miners when they came in with gold. my mom, her dad was a brand-new attorney and he got a message from one of his buddies saying come to alaska, come to this town. there is only one lawyer, and
there is not much work. i need somebody. he came up as a very young man and the rest is history. both my parents grew up in the town, where i was born. southeast alaska as a kid growing up, and i lived in anchorage and fairbanks. i have good roots through the state. >> what is the difference between nome and where you were born? sen. murkowski: to begin with, a couple thousand miles. in terms of similarities, you are both off the grid, so to speak. ketchikan is an island, and nome might as well be an island in terms of isolation. they are both communities that i think the pioneers looked to as a place of opportunity. nome for the gold rush. ketchikan was about the strength of the fisheries, which drew people not only from the lower 48 but a strong filipino contingency.
both pioneering towns in their own right that way. both beautiful communities to this day, i love them. >> what does your chairmanship of the energy and natural resources committee bring to alaska? sen. murkowski: i think it allows alaska to be in that national spotlight when it comes to our energy resources. we are a resource rich state. 720,000 people, but we have more natural resources, whether it be trees, fish, oil, minerals, natural gas, coal. an extraordinary mineral base. an opportunity to contribute to the national conversation on
energy is extraordinarily important, and coming from an energy producing state like alaska, it becomes all the more important. >> natural gas is growing in alaska? sen. murkowski: it is growing. we have been producing natural gas for decades. for 40 plus years, we shipped lng out of the cook inlet area to japan. it was the longest running contract for export out of the united states for natural gas. and it was coming right out of cook inlet. so we have got good gas reserves down in the south central area, but we also have extraordinary untapped reserves up in our north slope. we have the potential for methane hydrate, unconventional gas.
it is extraordinary. our challenge has never been, do we have the resource? our challenge is how do you move the resource to the market? back to your question about the role of my chairmanship on the natural resources committee, that has been an important part of how we work out access to alaska's resources. the resources are there, how do you move them? >> senator, in your view, has climate change affected alaska? sen. murkowski: absolutely. as one who was born and raised there, and who travels widely around the state, particularly some of our very remote areas, areas that are predominantly on the coast, but into some arctic areas where quite honestly, there has not been a lot of
focus from folks on the outside, unelected leaders or otherwise. i have an opportunity to come in and see for myself, to sit down, to hear from elders about what they have observed. these are folks, they might not have a phd, but they have a phd in living and they can tell you what they are seeing, with the sea ice and the consequence of erosion that is coming about because the sea ice is receding, allowing waves to build up. it's not just coastal erosion, it is in so many other areas. it is what you're seeing in habitats, things growing in places they had not been before. in migratory paths, where the
caribou are, the fisheries. i look honestly at the reality i see in my state and i believe that our climate is changing and we are seeing the impacts, and how we are able to adapt and mitigate is something that as a lawmaker i try to help our state with on a daily basis. >> you have also recently passed legislation to help with some of the indigenous populations in alaska, didn't you? loan guarantees? sen. murkowski: loan guarantees. when i think about the many ways we can help, that we here in congress can help those in our native communities deal with, whether it is the impact of
climate change through helping them develop infrastructure that will push back against the tide. that is tough and expensive. offering assistance, technical assistance, loan guarantees, grant programs, scientific assistance, research data. there is a host of different ways we can help. but i think it is also important to recognize these are not just initiatives that would focus on moving a village, for instance, a community threatened by erosion and they will lose their school, their air strip. there are other impacts we see with climate change. particularly health-related impacts. if you have an area that is now drier than it was before, you have levels of dust because you don't have paved roads.
you have respiratory issues children may be dealing with. there are a host of different ways we have to look at this as an issue, and the threats to the people are i believe apparent. >> there are three of you in congress representing alaska. you ever feel like you are fighting against the tide to get people down here to understand? sen. murkowski: it is always an education. i can talk about alaska to my colleagues and to members of the administration, but even they will admit they really did not
get it until they flew to alaska, until they were in that situation where they realized, wait, she was right, there are really no roads down here. over 80% of communities in alaska are not connected by road. the bus you want to get around alaska, good luck with that. we have a marine highway system, you can get on a ferry that goes up. we have one that goes up and one that goes down, and that is our road system. when you think about rural, in everybody has rural in the state. they think they understand. to them, rural is you drive a long way, you finally get to a rough and bumpy road, a little town after that, and another rough and bumpy road. for alaska, it is beyond rural, it is frontier.
it is beyond what most people can relate to. unless, until you are there, to be able to take the secretary of energy out to a little community outside of bethel, alaska, which is not connected by road. in the wintertime, the rivers freeze over, and the way we access it is to drive down the river on the ice. the secretary said it was the first time he'd been in a motorcade on a frozen river. you have to experience it. i think you can try to relate, but you have to experience it. getting members of congress up to see it is important. we have a lot of people trying to come up and see it.
>> you bring some of your colleagues up to the natural wildlife refuge, did they see what the pipeline looks like, the areas you want to open for more drilling? sen. murkowski: when you go into the 1002 area, that piece at the top of alaska in the north slope that has been set aside, you will not see pipeline. there is no pipeline. there is nothing in that 1002 area. there is a community, and that community has its own airstrip and a school and a community hall, and they have a little restaurant, not really restaurant, a little lodging.
that is what is in the area existing. there is one exploration well made back in the early 1980's, and that is it. it looks like a skinny box sitting there. otherwise, nothing but flat tundra. green and marshy in the summer and white and perfectly flat in the wintertime. that is the 1002 area. outside of those boundaries, on state lands, that is where you will see the development that has come about through exploration and the ongoing discovery.
the bay is about 80 miles to the west of where you would be in the 1002 area. when i take members up that want to see the area, we will fly up to dead horse, and the bay, which is the original field built 40-plus years ago. i actually worked in the bay when i was just out of high school -- excuse me, yes, it was just out of high school, i was in college. i worked constructing the pipeline, i spent a full summer, it was extraordinary. you see, that development, that is what people would call the elephant, that is what changed
revenues to the state. then you have what would be described as more satellite fields in state areas, further to the west. what we are seeing now with the level of exploration and the signs they are seeing between the satellite areas and the national petroleum reserve to the west of the 1002, that's where you seeing strong development right now. >> what would you say to people who are concerned about the environment and think oil or gas drilling would be the wrong thing to do? sen. murkowski: i would invite them to come up, i think it is important for them to see. it takes me back to my earlier
comments that you have to see alaska to believe and understand it. what you see when you come into the dead horse area and the bay is a mature, developed oilfield that was developed using the technologies from 45 years ago. it is a much bigger footprint. you then go out to, for instance, the alpine field, or what conoco is doing. you look at the footprint and how we have reduced the footprint so many times over. people cannot believe, is this all you are talking about, all you are working off of? this small gravel pad is hosting this level of expiration activity?
-- exploration activity? the reason they are able to do it is because of changes in the technology that have come about in the past four decades-plus. one well that can dive down and spoke out in an area up to eight miles in radius. that's what our technology is delivering to us. you don't see it on the surface, the caribou don't see it on the surface, the people who may live in the region can't see it on the surface. this is what we are trying to do. we don't want to come in and take the land just to take the land. that is not part of anybody's plan. we want to be able to access a resource and do so in a way that is efficient, clean, environmentally sound, allows for the continued subsistence activity of the native people who live in the region. there are not a lot of
communities or people, but we want to make sure the native people who have lived there thousands of years are able to continue harvesting their caribou, are able to continue harvesting the whale that comes through on an annual basis and sustain them through the winter. there is a balance that goes on in alaska that i am proud to talk about. we have made sure that the balance is there for the people first who live there, who need not only the jobs, the it resources, that the economy that comes with it. the reality we have is that in the north slope borough, you have a school system that is
able to hire pretty good teachers, you have health care available for the people in the region that is to be admired, you can afford utility costs in barrow. you can afford your utility costs. it is barrel -- powered by natural gas. it comes from the oilfield. you compare that to some of the communities that are still 100% reliant on diesel fuel to stay warm. what development has brought to the people in the region, it has brought about change, and i know there is resistance, there is always some resistance to change, but when it also brings the benefit of jobs and resources and the ability to
live in a cold, dark place, to be able to be warm and make sure your kids are educated, to make sure you have the opportunity for health care, these are some of the benefits and advantages to having development in the region. but the people still demand, and i demand as their representative, that their ability to access the resources on the land for their subsistence, food nutrition, and also because it is part of their identity. the people of the whale, the people of the caribou, they identify with their food source by name. we cannot take that away from them. we are no longer doing active exploration in the offshore as shell was doing some years ago. when shell was out there, they had stipulations and agreements
and memorandums of understanding that required when the bowhead whale were migrating through, you're out of the water. the engines are not running, you cannot be out there. when i tell that to people in the lower 48 who come from producing places, north dakota or california, tell them that when the whale come through, there is no expiration, there is nothing going on, they say what? you can't possibly do that. i say no, that is a condition. you have a social license to operate. you have to work with the people who live there. the indigenous peoples who have been there 1000 years. it is about balance, it is about balance and it is not easy, that
--ws senator lisa murkowski >> senator lisa murkowski is the senior senator from alaska. final question, in the next couple of weeks, a lot of attention paid to you when it comes to the nomination. you have had this before, what is it like to have that attention? saytor murkowski: i like to everyone was in the senate, all 100 of us have the same of vote. does myne vote as junior senator from alaska and the most senior member. i know there is a great deal of attention that has been trained on me because primarily of the wade and what. will happen when kennedy, who was at those swing, viewed as a
the swing member on the supreme court's when he leaves was mark and judge cap --? and judge kavanaugh was to replace them. not just the balance on women's reproductive issues, but so many other issues that are concern for a lot of constituents, the red state that believes strongly in ensuring we are respecting second amendment rights. identify or say there is one issue that, for me, will guide my determination under this nomination or any future nomination for the united states in paris in court, that is not how i operate. and looking at his record holistically as idea that with and i amer justice
perhaps taking more time then some would like me to. some on the right would like to say you need to be deciding the you are supporting care. on at the left when you say you needed to decide is not acceptable. i do not operate that way. i will be thoughtful. i joked with my son who is finishing up law school that i feel like i am in law school. i am reading the opinions. i want to gauge for myself. i know i am not going to be able to ask him a question on what you do in x case. i would not ask of that. what i'm trying to do is discern if judge kavanaugh has the qualities that i think we're all looking for in a judge and the judicial temperament and the
character and the intelligence and the balance and the desire rathery follow the law than try to move things in a more predetermined or perhaps political outcome. viewt to know how does he the president and how does he consider settled law to be settled. i am looking forward to the conversations. i think it will be more than several weeks. the judiciary committee has to go through a pretty voluminous records request. you have a judge who has been on the bench now in the d.c. circuit for 12 years, there are a lot of opinions out there. you have his record in the bush administration, so you have
further records out there. i will be following it, and i am ok being in that space of people accusing me of being too thoughtful on this. i want to be too thoughtful and i think alaskans expect me to be thoughtful. and i am welcoming their opinions, their views, everybody comes out it with something they care about. there is a process ahead of me, and as you have noted, i am in the swirl because i haven't been pegged into either box. and i won't be pegged into a box, i'm going to do my own work on this and do what alaskans expect me to do, which is be thorough and thoughtful. next, a visit to the foundation created by the states long time republican senator, ted stevens. >> alaska was not source