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Governor Appoints New AGDC Board Members

Creators of AGDC urge thorough review of qualifications of new board members


February 19, 2015
Thursday PM

(SitNews) - Governor Bill Walker appointed three new members today to the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. Governor Walker also detailed his plans to upsize and increase the volume of the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP), as well as continue development of the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (AK LNG) project.

Rick Halford of Dillingham

Joe Paskvan of Fairbanks

Hugh Short of Anchorage (formerly the mayor of Bethel)

Governor Walker wrote in his recently published editorial: “What it comes down to is this: We will work with the producers to continue to develop the AK LNG project. With ASAP, we will work with gas buyers to secure the opportunities the market offers. Whichever project is first to produce a solid plan, and conditions acceptable to the state, will get the state’s full support. Or, perhaps the two projects could be combined at some point along the way.”

Governor Walker said he is confident his newly appointed Alaska Gasline Development Corporation team will help Alaska to be the owner state it is meant to be.

Rick Halford of Dillingham, Joe Paskvan of Fairbanks and Hugh Short of Anchorage (formerly the mayor of Bethel) will join AGDC’s governing body, which oversees efforts to develop liquefied natural gas in Alaska.

“I am pleased to welcome these three talented Alaskans to our team,” said Governor Walker. “Bringing our natural gas to Alaskans and the world market is one of my top priorities as Governor. I am confident that with these additional members, the AGDC Board is on track to make that happen.”

However, House Speaker Mike Chenault and Representative Mike Hawker, architects of the legislation creating the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, urged a diligent review of the qualifications of the three new board members appointed today by Gov. Bill Walker.

AGDC board members are appointed by the Governor and serve at the Governor’s pleasure, but must be confirmed by the Legislature. In January, Walker fired three key board members with significant expertise in advancing Alaska’s interests in a large natural gas pipeline and LNG project.

“As with any appointments subject to legislative confirmation, we’ll conduct a thorough examination of these new appointees, their experience, and their qualifications,” Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “We went to great lengths in the legislature to ensure that AGDC would be as far removed from politics as possible, having learned from past projects that real success is built not on hopes and dreams, but on technical, commercial, and financial know-how, with decisions driven by economic realities and not by politics.”

“It is a daunting task to replace the unparalleled expertise the original board members brought to AGDC,” Hawker, R-Anchorage, said. “In appointing AGDC’s inaugural board, the former administration publicly solicited applications, received nearly 100 responses, and selected the candidates with the greatest possible skills and experience to shepherd the state into its new role as a natural gas development partner with the private sector. I look forward to hearing from the administration the nature of its process used in these appointments, and better understanding the source of each candidate’s qualifications.

“AGDC’s original board members, some with international pipeline expertise, were a tremendous asset to AGDC,” Hawker said. Along with directing the organization, the public members added value by serving on subcommittees along with AGDC staff on commercial, engineering, and governance topics.

AGDC is not the only state corporation/entity to require specialized expertise in board members. The Alaska Aerospace Corporation, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, and Alaska Railroad Corporation statutes all require certain qualifications in board members. In the case of AGDC, the presence of two cabinet-level commissioners on the board, not their designees, is designed to ensure the board as a whole considers the broader interests of the state and of all Alaskans in directing the organization.

  • The three fired AGDC board members were:

    Al Bolea of Big Lake, brought insights into governance and the oil and gas industry through his former roles as a BP executive; chairman of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and CEO of Dubai Petroleum in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Drue Pearce of Anchorage, brought a wealth of expertise in federal rules related to permitting, a deep history of Alaska oil and gas development, and a comprehensive understanding of Alaskans’ needs through her former roles as a state senator; the Department of Interior’s Alaska advisor; and the federal coordinator for Alaska natural gas transportation projects.
  • Richard Rabinow, of Texas, brought decades of experience in major pipelines, through his former work as President and CEO of Longhorn Pipeline Partners; as President of Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company; chairman of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines; and membership on the TransAlaska Pipeline System Owners Committee.

Alaska Senate Resources Chair Cathy Giessel (R) says she is looking forward to fully vetting and learning more about the Governor Walker’s appointees to the Board of Directors for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC).

“I look forward to conducting our usual objective interviewing of the new AGDC Board appointees,” said Senator Giessel. “As with all gubernatorial appointees, my committee and I will focus on the statutes that define the expertise and experience needed for the position. We will evaluate the capacity of the person to conduct the work of the AGDC board.”

Under those requirements, Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner-Designee Heidi Drygas and Acting Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Fred Parady became nominees to the Board late last year.

“I will be interviewing the three public member appointees before the Senate Resources Committee. The two commissioner designees who serve on the AGDC board will be before the Senate Labor & Commerce committee, where I am vice chair,” said Senator Giessel. “For me, it is critical that the members of the board not only have a passion for the mission, but also the skills needed to formulate and implement that strategy. So that’s what I will be looking for in all of the nominees.”

The Governor's three new appointees are former state Senator Joe Paskvan, a Fairbanks lawyer; former state Senator Rick Halford of Dillingham, a retired pilot; and Hugh Short of Bethel, a businessman and former mayor.

Rick Halford of Dillingham has a long history in state government. He served 24 years in the Alaska State Legislature. During that time he chaired a number of committees in both the House and Senate, and retired as Senate President in 2003. Halford is a retired commercial pilot and air taxi operator. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Alaska Methodist University.

Joe Paskvan of Fairbanks is a private practice lawyer who has more than 30 years of experience in civil litigation. He served in the Alaska State Senate from 2009 to 2013. During that time, Paskvan served as chair of the Senate labor and commerce committee and co-chair of the Senate resources committee, where he focused on oil and gas issues in Alaska. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Paskvan earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a juris doctor from the University of Puget Sound School of Law.

Hugh Short is an Inupiat Eskimo, born and raised in Bethel, who has spent his career creating and operating successful businesses in the Arctic. Short serves as the Chairman and CEO of Pt Capital, a financial services company based in Anchorage. Short also served as the Chairman of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority Board of Directors, and as the President and CEO of Alaska Growth Capital. He also served as mayor of Bethel from 2002 to 2004. Short received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

AGDC is governed by a seven-member board of directors, which includes five public members and two commissioners. Upon confirmation by the Legislature, Governor Walker’s three appointees will join John Burns of Fairbanks, Dave Cruz of Palmer, Department of Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas, and Acting Commerce Commissioner Fred Parady on the board.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews



Source of News: 

Office of the Governor

Alaska House Majority

Alaska Senate Resources Committee

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