Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rookie Alaska U.S. Senator Mark Begich Gets Major Gut Check Early; Will Lock Horns With Joe Lieberman Over ANWR

During his senatorial campaign, Mark Begich repeatedly promised that he would oppose Senate Democrats whenever, wherever, and however necessary to defend Alaska's interests. It looks like he will get an early opportunity to prove it - and he appears primed for the contest. Full story aired on KTUU Channel 2. National analysis on

Begich, who has been assigned to the Commerce, Science & Transportation and Armed Services committees, expects Senator Joe Lieberman to introduce legislation on Saturday January 10th which would permanently prohibit oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by designating 1.5 million acres of it as wilderness. And Begich is spoiling for the fight. "I said I'd fight strong against my own party if they're wrong and in my view they are wrong on the issue of ANWR," Begich said. "I'll work very hard to educate them on what's important."

Unfortunately, our junior Senator could be undermined by a fifth columnist back here at home. Betsy Beardsley, environmental justice program director with the Alaska Wilderness League, said Lieberman's bill is a positive proposal for good energy advocacy. "What Lieberman is doing is saying it's time to move forward with a good energy policy for this country," she said. "This is an issue debated for years, and it's really a drop in the bucket when you look at America's oil supply."

So basically Beardsley is tired of hearing the overwhelming majority of the state advocate for ANWR and wants us to shut up so she can quash the debate. The Alaska Wilderness League is an example of an environmental extremist group that makes the whole movement look bad.

ANWR covers 19 million acres and Begich said about 2,000 acres would be impacted by oil and gas exploration and development.

Mark Begich is being tested early by one of the true powerhouses of the Senate. But some Senate Democrats haven't forgotten how Lieberman played footsie with Bush over the years. They may be willing to vote Begich's way not only to pay Lieberman back, but to leave some markers with Begich.

The bottom line - Mark Begich is now our junior Senator, and he deserves an opportunity to show what he can do. Despite his spendthrift ways as mayor, he showed that he is an Alaskan first, and a Democrat second.

1 comment:

  1. fact is there is no diffrence between a republican or a democrat anymore.both parties are controlled by special intrest groups and lobbying intrests such as AIPAC, everyone knows nobody gets elected in america unless they get the ok from AIPAC.mark is in for a rude awakening.