Ferry to Alaska becomes pawn in political dispute over Arctic drilling
In symbolic move, lawmaker proposes ending states' link
By MIKE LEWIS * P-I REPORTER
A symbolic move? Sounds more like attempted blackmail!
Senator Ted Stevens (R)-Oilaska vowed revenge after he was thwarted in his crude move to open ANWR to drilling. He and his pals have been trying to screw over Washington State ever since.
First, Stevens tried to increase oil-tanker traffic (and the risk of oil spills) in Puget Sound by doing away with the 1977 Magnuson Marine Mammal Protection Act. But he was unsuccessful. (and we'll pretend like we didn't notice that Stevens attempted revenge on Senator Cantwell would have benefited one of his all time biggest contributors - BP, by letting them enlarge their refinery at Cherry Point.)
Then, Stevens pal Don Young (R) Alaska (chair of the House Transportation Committee), attempted to move the homeport of the Coast Guard ice-breaker Healy from Seattle to Anchorage. Young quietly inserted a one-sentence line about this in the 78-page bill on the Coast Guard and maritime transportation. That jab at Washington State didn't work out either. He withdrew his proposal.
Now, we've got Rep. Kurt Olson, (R-Soldotna) sponsoring a resolution in the Alaska state legislature to terminate ferry service between Bellingham, WA and Alaska. His resolution is sitting in committee and Olson said he would wait until he discusses it with U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, before requesting a hearing. But Alaskans (especially those who can't enter Canada because of DUI convictions) think it's a stupid idea that would hurt them more than it would hurt Bellingham.