Walker appoints new DNR commissioner; second cabinet change today

The state Department of Natural Resources has a new commissioner.

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Andy Mack, the new commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources (Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office)
Andy Mack, the new commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources (Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

Gov. Bill Walker announced today that Andy Mack, an Arctic policy and development adviser and manager of Pt Capital, a private equity fund based in Alaska, will take over the agency. Former commissioner Mark Myers retired in February.

The announcement came after acting DNR commissioner Marty Rutherford told Walker she plans to retire this month, according to a media release.

Rutherford won’t be leaving the public eye, however, as Walker immediately announced he is appointing her to the board of the Permanent Fund Corporation as of July.

Rutherford did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment and a DNR spokesperson did not return messages requesting an interview with Rutherford.

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski said Rutherford’s exit will be a blow to the department’s institutional knowledge.

“It’s a loss for the state, you know, she’s someone who’s been through a number of different iterations on gas line policy and on oil tax issues and so, yeah I hate to see her go,” Wielechowski said.

The DNR commissioner is heavily involved in the state’s effort to build a massive natural pipeline to bring gas down from the North Slope.

A Walker spokesperson said he is traveling and not available to talk about the cabinet shakeup and his new appointments.

It’s the third high-level position change Walker announced today.

Alaska’s Attorney General, Craig Richards, resigned suddenly this morning, saying he needs to spend more time with his family.  The state’s deputy attorney general, Jim Cantor, will fill in for Richards while  Walker seeks a replacement.