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Senator Lisa Murkowski asks Interior chief to shield parts of Alaska from offshore drilling

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Alaska’s Republican senator said on Thursday she will ask Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to remove certain sensitive offshore areas of Alaska from his proposed strategy to increase oil and gas drilling in federal waters.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the Alaska congressional delegation is “really bullish and optimistic” about the oil and gas potential of the Arctic and the Cook inlet.

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But she said they have concerns about more sensitive ecological areas in the Gulf of Alaska and in the Kawerak region in the Bering Straits.

“There are certain areas that we feel are not opportune for leasing and for development,” Murkowski told reporters. “Let’s focus on where the opportunity is good and there is interest and defined resource with limited obstacles.”

Zinke on Jan. 9 surprised the White House when he announced that he would keep Florida’s coastline off limits from offshore drilling after speaking to its Republican Governor Rick Scott who opposed the plan.

Zinke was accused of political favoritism and helping Scott, who is expected to run for a Senate seat in 2018.

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The surprise announcement led both Democratic and Republican governors and lawmakers in coastal states who also oppose offshore drilling to ask Zinke for similar exemptions.

Murkowski said she expects Zinke to respond to congressional requests.

“He will take things off just as he took Florida off and as he will be taking other matters off as the process moves forward,” she said.

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The Trump administration has proposed opening up nearly all of America’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, but the oil and gas industry says it is mainly interested in one part of it, the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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Nicolle Wallace blasts Mike Pompeo for the ‘worst appearance’ on TV in the history of American politics

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace drew upon her experience serving as a White House communications director to explain the Trump administration's messaging failure on the scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Wallace played a clip of George Stephanopoulos interviewing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on ABC's "This Week" where the cabinet official failed to answer questions about Mick Mulvaney admitting to a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

"I was a communications director for a White House that didn’t get a lot of points for communicating," the former George W. Bush administration official said.

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‘Rudy was Patient Zero’: Nicolle Wallace says GOP ‘are being taken down by the fake news they’ve peddled’

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On Monday's edition of MSNBC's "Deadline: White House," anchor Nicolle Wallace discussed the self-destruction of President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani with former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt.

"Who’s Rudy in all this?" asked Wallace.

"It’s just extraordinary to consider that Rudy Giuliani was a legitimate, certified national hero," said Schmidt. "He was respected by nearly the entirety of the country for dazzling leadership in the days after 9/11, and to watch his fall, his devolution, is just tragic. I mean, you talk about the reality that we live in this era where trust has collapsed in public institutions. I mean, here is someone, one of the few people that was pretty broadly admired in the country, and just threw it all away in defense of God knows what."

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‘This is INSANE’: National security experts shocked by Pompeo’s saber-rattling towards Turkey

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National security experts are floored seeing the warmongering coming from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said Monday that he was prepared to go to war with Turkey.

“We prefer peace to war,” Pompeo told CNBC. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.”

He didn't want to give specifics, however, saying he wanted to let the president announce things himself.

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