Walker Names Gasline Board Appointments

Gov. Bill Walker announced his picks for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board, which oversees two different pipeline projects.

Walker has appointed Rick Halford, Joe Paskvan, and Hugh Short as his directors.

Halford is a former Senate President who currently resides in Dillingham, and he was co-chair of Walker’s transition team. Paskvan represented Fairbanks in the State Senate for four years, and is an attorney in private practice. Short is a former Bethel mayor, and is the CEO of a financial services company.

The three replace the board members who Walker dismissed in January, when Walker announced he wanted to see a “paradigm shift” in how the board operated. Those former members had previous experience in the oil and gas industry. As the board is structured by statute, “expertise and experience” are required of board members.

At a press conference, Walker said his appointees were sufficiently qualified, but that he wanted the board to have more of a citizen perspective.

“They’re Alaskans, and I believe their expertise needs to come from the administration,” says Walker. “When we are drawing on our board members to be the experts, that’s sort of an unusual arrangement.”

House Speaker Mike Chenault, a Nikiski Republican who co-sponsored the initial AGDC legislation, says the appointees will be vetted for their gas expertise.

“I believe that the governor stated upstairs that they didn’t really need to have any expertise, that the administration was going to be the expertise for the board,” says Chenault. “That’s not how it was created. That’s not why it was created.”

Walker’s picks for the AGDC board must be confirmed by a majority of the Legislature.