• 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

  • Politics

    Alaska Legislature gavels in for special session

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 11:17

    The Alaska Legislature gaveled in for a special session called by the governor after lawmakers adjourned with a partially funded state budget. Both the House and Senate immediately recessed. Failure to reach a budget agreement sent the Legislature, which was scheduled to adjourn April 19, into overtime. Lawmakers Monday approved a compromise operating budget before […]

  • DayBreak

    Holly Brooks places 3rd overall in series of ski marathon races

    by Daybreak Staff on Apr 28, 11:12

    It was a ski season coined “the marathon of marathons,” according to Olympian cross-country skier Holly Brooks.  She placed third overall in a series of ski marathon races, the highest finish ever for someone from North America. “I totaled it last night,” Brooks said. “538 kilometers in 10 different countries and 11 ski marathons.” Brooks […]

  • Politics

    Demboski, Berkowitz square off in first runoff debate

    by Jacquie Slater on Apr 28, 10:43

    Anchorage mayoral candidates Ethan Berkowitz and Amy Demboski went head to head Monday in their first debate since moving into the runoff election. The debate was organized by the University of Alaska Anchorage debate team and was held during the Chamber of Commerce’s Make It Monday meeting. Demboski and Berkowitz had three key topics presented […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, April 28

    by Brett Shepard on Apr 28, 9:07

    Southcentral Decreasing cloudiness today with partly cloudy skies by the afternoon. Southeast A lot of rain and very windy over southern portions of the Panhandle. Interior Mostly to partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 50s. North Slope Mostly cloudy skies with some snow showers to the east. West A beautiful day with mostly to […]

  • On-Air

    The meat you eat: Antibiotics in our food

    by Ivanhoe Newswire on Apr 28, 8:50

    Each year, 23,000 Americans die and eight million are hospitalized as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections, and it has nothing to do with prescription medication. Here are some reasons why you may want to take a closer look at what is on your plate. It might look good, but what is added to beef, pork […]

  • News

    Denali National Park wolf count drops below 50

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 8:33

    Denali National Park and Preserve’s wolf numbers have reached a record low this spring with an estimated population of just 48, according to a Park Service study. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1J6oiNV) that Park Service estimates the wolf population twice each year since 1986 using radio collard wolves and analysis of the few un-collared […]

  • News

    Woman with warrant tries to dodge authorities by hiding in car trunk

    by Hope Miller on Apr 28, 8:04

    A Sterling Highway traffic stop ended with a wanted woman in custody after she was spotted trying to crawl her way into a car trunk to avoid troopers, authorities say. Around 8 p.m. Sunday, Anchor Point Alaska State Troopers stopped a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier near mile 142 of the Sterling Highway for speeding. When troopers […]

  • News

    Alaska Airlines adds flights from Seattle to Charleston, SC

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 6:49

    Alaska Airlines is beginning nonstop flights from its Seattle hub to Charleston in November. The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1doc7SF) that the airline is also adding nonstop service to Nashville, Tennessee, and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. Alaska Airline’s vice president John Kirby told the newspaper the move adds three cities to its […]