• 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

  • Sports

    Local Seahawks fans voice their support ahead of Super Bowl Sunday

    by on Jan 30, 23:11

    The Seattle Seahawks continue preparing for Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz. Fans back in Anchorage are sending a loud message to their favorite team hoping the Seahawks win their second straight championship. Fans staged a rally early Friday night at Flat Top Pizza. It took place after they took part in another event at […]

  • Sports

    Former NFL player helps teens become successful, avoid trouble with the law

    by Dave Leval on Jan 30, 22:50

    Former defensive end Mao Tosi has tackled many people during his playing days in college and with the Arizona Cardinals. However, being home in Anchorage may provide his biggest obstacle. Tosi created AK Pride 10 years ago, a program in which he teams mentors with kids in a variety of programs ranging from arts to […]

  • News

    Alaska Regional Hospital announces plans for Mountain View clinic

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 30, 21:48

    The Anchorage Community Land Trust and Alaska Regional Hospital have signed an agreement to open a community health clinic in Mountain View to better serve residents in the area. The clinic would provide primary care services for residents in the Mountain View community, many of whom may not be getting the level of healthcare they […]

  • News

    Mayoral candidates address recent Anchorage violence

    by Kate McPherson on Jan 30, 20:34

    With the recent surge in violent crimes in Anchorage, some of the candidates in the upcoming mayoral race are speaking out against the actions of perpetrators and looking for ways to protect other residents. Candidate Andrew Halcro says the recent shootings in Anchorage need to be addressed with dedicated gang and drug task forces. “When […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Jan. 30

    by Carlos Faura on Jan 30, 19:23

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Lots of sunshine and mild temperatures as a ridge builds into the area. Because of such a stable atmosphere and because there is little wind, conditions are ripe for some fog to develop overnight into the morning hours. It should just be patchy in nature and be gone by […]

  • News

    Last man on the moon lands in Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 30, 17:40

    The last man to walk on the moon visited Anchorage on Friday, and spoke with students enrolled in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Capt. Eugene Cernan, 80, was the invited speaker to help celebrate the ANSEP’s 20th anniversary. He told […]

  • News

    APD releases traffic fatality stats for 2014

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 30, 17:06

    Anchorage saw an uptick in traffic fatalities last year compared to 2009-2013, according to data released by the Anchorage Police Department Friday. Twenty-three people died in traffic collisions in 2014, which includes all collision types involving vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Of those, alcohol or drugs were a factor in 15 of the cases. The department […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Jolly Good Fellow

    by Daybreak Staff on Jan 30, 15:04

    With a mix of indie pop and rock, Jolly Good Fellow stopped by Daybreak Friday for a Mic Check in the Morning. Based in Anchorage, the band includes vocalist and guitarist Kyle Harrington, bassist Mapy Preskitt and drummer Brandon Echols. For more information on Jolly Good Fellow, check out their Facebook page. You can also listen […]