Wagoner wants ANWR ultimatum

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2006

Saying Alaska needs to escalate the battle over opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai, said Wednesday he has drafted a resolution calling for Alaska to stop doing business with Washington, Oregon and California.

Reacting to one of the issues Gov. Frank Murkowski focused on in his State of the State Address on Tuesday — the lack of respect shown Alaska by much of the rest of the country over ANWR and the so-called “bridges to nowhere” — Wagoner said Alaska should make ready to answer the bell.

“We need to come out swinging on ANWR,” Wagoner said.

In his address, Murkowski said he wanted funding to wage an aggressive public relations campaign to tell Outsiders how it really is here, why Alaska needs money for its comparatively limited infrastructure and why ANWR should be opened.

Wagoner agreed, saying the residents and lawmakers of other states need to understand the negative impacts their political positions are having on Alaska’s economy — those in Washington, Oregon and California, in particular.

“They use a lot of our oil to manufacture gasoline,” Wagoner said. “Let’s give them a taste of their own medicine.”

The language of the measure is being fine-tuned and still to be decided is whether the draft would become a senate or joint resolution, said Wagoner aide Mary Jackson.

The resolution has not yet been released, but Jackson said it essentially would urge the governor, at his discretion, to terminate certain business relationships with the three states, but in a way that would not harm Alaska’s economy.

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