Jindal's volcano remarks roil Alaskans

The Anchorage Daily NewsFebruary 26, 2009 

In his official Republican response to President Barack Obama's speech to the nation Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said repeatedly that "Americans can do anything!"

With one exception, apparently. We don't need to keep an eye on simmering volcanoes.

Jindal singled out "volcano monitoring" in Alaska as an unnecessary frill that Democrats stuck in the recently adopted stimulus package.

"Their legislation is larded with wasteful spending," Jindal said. "It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C."

Jindal's comments provoked an eruption of their own. Alaska politicians, liberal bloggers and some scientists began pointing out how useful it is to let people know when a volcano in their neighborhood is about to explode.

"Volcano monitoring is a matter of life and death in Alaska," Democratic Sen. Mark Begich said in an open letter to Jindal.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski quickly agreed, noting in a press statement how "absolutely appropriate" it is to spend money on volcano monitoring. However, said Murkowski, Jindal raised "a legitimate question about funding volcano monitoring in legislation that's supposed to create jobs for unemployed Americans."

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