• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 10s

Governor appoints Texas man to Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Board

By Rhonda McBride 10:44 AM March 22, 2014

Democrats say governor has broken state law twice

JUNEAU – Democrats claim Gov. Sean Parnell has broken the law yet again by appointing an out-of-stater the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Board.

“As lawmakers, we shouldn’t be lawbreakers,” said Sen. Hollis French, who along with the rest of Senate Democrats sent a letter of protest to Parnell. “We should stick with what we have on the books.”

Parnell’s latest appointee to the AGDC board, Richard Rabinow, lives in Houston, Texas. Rabinow had a 34-year career with ExxonMobil. When he retired in 2002, he was president of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company. Since then, he’s been president and chief executive officer of Longhorn Partners Pipeline, as well as a pipeline industry consultant.

Recently, the governor also appointed Dennis Mandell to the State Assessment Review Board. Mandell is a California man with ties to the oil industry. The SARB oversees taxes levied on oil company property, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Mandell resigned after a controversy arose over his residency.

“It’s worth noting that both times the governor has done this, it’s been on oil related matters,” French said. “And he’s hiring what looks to be oil-industry friendly people from outside to come here and tip the scales. And that’s troubling.”

French noted that the governor has not appointed non-residents to other boards and commissions dealing with other matters.

House Majority leaders responded with a letter of their own in support of the governor’s appointment.

At Thursday’s weekly House Majority news conference, the House Speaker defended the governor’s appointment.

“If you’re going up against Conoco, Exxon, BP, you’re going up some of the smartest folks in the world,” said Rep. Mike Chenault, a Republican from Nikiski. “And while I believe there are smart Alaskans, that can take most of these positions and do a very good job of it, I want the best in the world to go up against Exxon.”

Parnell said he’s clearly within his rights to appoint non-residents under the Alaska Constitution, which only requires U.S. Citizenship.
“I have over 850 people serving in office who I’ve appointed to boards and commissions, and this represents a handful of folks,” Parnell said.

The governor said AGDC is taking the lead in the Alaska Liquified Natural Gas project, and outside expertise is needed on the board.

“The question is, do we want somebody who knows something about gas pipe and putting a project together?” Parnell said. “I honestly think it’s a good thing to have someone with that knowledge. I would not want a general practitioner performing brain surgery on me.”

There are some instances, such as the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, where board members have come from outside the state. But there’s a specific Alaska statute, which allows this, because Alaska doesn’t have the in-state expertise.

Parnell says he doesn’t want to get in a constitutional fight with Democrats, so he’ll ask lawmakers to pass a law allowing non-resident appointments to AGDC.

“We cannot rely solely on a small population group and expect that the biggest project in North American history be limited to Alaska residents,” Parnell said. “So I’m going to ask that legislators carve out an exception on this mega project like they did with the Alaska Aerospace Corporation.”

Democrats said they welcome the debate.

“This is all about Alaska. Alaska gas. An Alaskan gasline,” French said. “Let’s have Alaskans on board making these decisions. These are big questions that are central to the economy of the state.”

In the meantime, two representatives say they’ll work toward an amendment this session to end the debate.

Mike Chenault and Mike Hawker said they want the governor to have the widest possible field of expertise to choose from when making board appointments to the AGDC.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Native art fair draws crowds to Dena’ina Center

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 23, 22:27

    The Alaska Federation of Natives convention brings Alaska Native leaders from around the state, but it also brings crafters and artisans. For many people, the Alaska Native Customary Art Fair is one of their favorite parts of the AFN convention. This year, the selection is better than ever. Hundreds of booths line the first floor […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 23

    by Carlos Faura on Oct 23, 22:22

    Kenai Peninsula – There will be isolated rain and snow on the Kenai with scattered showers from Anchorage north. Southeast - Expect rain to the south and a shower or two for the northern areas, with snow at pass levels. Interior & North Slope – It will be mostly dry with a flurry or two, […]

  • News

    Totem pole artist carves out a piece of history

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 23, 21:28

    A totem pole isn’t just a work of art for Tommy Joseph; it’s carving out a little piece of history. “That’s what a totem pole is all about is I’m telling someone’s story,” he said. “Everyone has a story.” On a warm morning in Sitka, he methodically chips away at a 10-foot cedar pole. He […]

  • Politics

    Show Me the Money: Marijuana Legalization

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 21:00

      Show Me the Money: Alaska’s Fiscal Future Four issues that could change the fortunes of Alaska… Four issues that have divided us… Four issues that will unite us as we go to the polls Nov. 4th… How can you prosper in the ever-changing landscape of living life in the 49th state?   Oct. 9 @ 9 […]

  • News

    Investigators focus on pilot error in deadly 2013 plane crash

    by Dave Leval on Oct 23, 20:22

    It’s been more than a year since two people died in a plane crash at Merrill Field. Rob Lilly and his girlfriend, Jessi Nelsen, died when they tried to land after taking off from Wasilla Aug. 24, 2013. The second phase of a federal investigation into the crash found no mechanical errors with the plane. […]

  • News

    Feds to bring indoor plumbing to Alaska village

    by Associated Press on Oct 23, 15:49

    A remote Alaska village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide to receive a share of more than $352 million in grants and loans for upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Alaska’s $12.6 million share of the funding from the U.S. Department of […]

  • News

    Governor signs bill to recognize Native languages

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 23, 15:39

    The number of official languages in the State of Alaska has gone from one to 21 with a single stroke of a pen. Gov. Sean Parnell signed HB216 in front of a cheering crowd at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Thursday morning. The bill recognizes 20 Native languages, and adds them to English as […]

  • Crime

    Police: Pit bull death ‘extreme’ animal cruelty

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 15:17

    Police are asking for help investigating the death of a dog found hanging from a tree near the University of Alaska Anchorage earlier this month. A man walking in the woods near East 20th Avenue and Rosemary Street made the gruesome discovery Oct. 10, according to a Thursday afternoon statement from the Anchorage Police Department. […]