• 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

  • Lifestyle

    For third straight time, Earth sets hottest year record

    by KTVA / AP on Jan 18, 7:08

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Government scientists say the Earth sizzled to a third straight heat record last year. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared. Last year was also the warmest year on record for Alaska, since records were first taken in the state in 1925. […]

  • Politics

    CBS Poll: More Americans disapprove than approve Trump’s handling of transition

    by Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Anthony Salvanto on Jan 18, 6:55

    It has been 10 weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, and more Americans disapprove (48 percent) than approve (37 percent) of the way he has handled his presidential transition.  They are split on his cabinet picks. Views divide heavily along party lines. Just days before his inauguration, Donald Trump’s favorable rating (32 percent) is […]

  • News

    Idaho company sees record silver production at Alaska mine

    by Associated Press on Jan 18, 6:35

    A metal mine in southeast Alaska has reached its highest level of silver production since an Idaho-based company took full ownership of the property in 2008. The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports that Hecla Mining Co. released its 2016 results last week for the Greens Creek mine west of Juneau. The mine produced 9.3 million […]

  • Politics

    New Alaska Legislature starts session with fresh faces, old problems

    by Liz Raines on Jan 17, 20:16

    A new Legislature met in Juneau Tuesday to start work on closing the state’s yawning fiscal gap. The first day of a legislative session in the Alaska State Capitol feels a lot like the first day of school. Some of last year’s members have graduated and moved on, while a new class of freshman lawmakers […]

  • Weather

    KTVA Weather Lab: Ravenwood Elementary School

    by Melissa Frey on Jan 17, 19:44

    In this week’s KTVA Weather Lab, I visited Ravenwood Elementary School, where the third-graders are learning all about meteorology. I also answered the KTVA Weather Lab Question of the Week: What is the most snow Alaska has ever had? Next week I’ll answer a weather question from Chester Valley Elementary School. Every Tuesday, Melissa Frey will take […]

  • Weather

    Winter enthusiasts happy to have more snow this year

    by Melissa Frey on Jan 17, 19:39

    The storm may be over, but the snow is still fresh and conditions are looking good for all types of winter enthusiasts. On Monday, 5.3 inches of snow was officially recorded at the National Weather Service office near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. That set a new record for Jan. 16, beating out the […]

  • News

    Anchorage Fire Department seeks new firefighters

    by Eric Ruble on Jan 17, 19:14

    The Anchorage Fire Department is hoping to hire between 18 and 25 new firefighters. The department said it wants to hire a diverse group of individuals who have a passion for helping their neighbors. “The best part about the job, I would say, would be working with a body of people who genuinely care about […]

  • Politics

    Alaskan attending Trump inauguration shares hopes for new administration

    by Eric Ruble on Jan 17, 18:43

    On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump will take on a new title as the 45th President of the United States. Julie Tisdale, the treasurer of the Alaska Republican Party, is going to be in Washington, D.C. to watch it happen. “I wanted to be a part of history,” Tisdale said. She began booking her trip the day […]