Walker replaces 2 on gas line board ahead of crucial vote

Former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins has been appointed to the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. (Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office)
Former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins has been appointed to the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. (Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

Gov. Bill Walker is once again shaking up the state’s gas line team.

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On Friday (Nov. 20), he replaced two of seven board members for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, or AGDC. That’s the entity that represents the state in the Alaska LNG project to bring natural gas from the North Slope.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours before the board is set to take two crucial votes: first, on whether to approve the deal to buy out TransCanada. And second, on whether to continue the project for another year.

Those votes are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday).

Gov. Bill Walker has removed former Attorney General and Fairbanks attorney John Burns from the AGDC board. (Photo courtesy of AGDC)
Gov. Bill Walker has removed former Attorney General  John Burns from the AGDC board. (Photo courtesy of AGDC)

Walker has removed former Alaska Attorney General John Burns, the board’s chairman. Burns’ seat will be filled by Luke Hopkins, who finished two terms as mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in October.

Walker also appointed Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken to replace Commerce Commissioner Chris Hladick on the board.

With these changes, six of the seven members have been appointed since the governor took office. Only Dave Cruz, of Palmer, remains of those board members appointed by former governor Sean Parnell. Cruz was reappointed by Walker in September.

Walker spokesperson Katie Marquette says the governor wanted a municipal representative on the board. Before serving as mayor, Hopkins was a planning commissioner and borough assembly member in Fairbanks. He also served on the board of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, a previous pipeline project championed by the governor.