Attorney General Sullivan Accepts DNR Commissioner Post
Says Emphasis Remains on Alaska’s Right to Develop Resources
Anchorage, Alaska – Attorney General Dan Sullivan, who has headed the Department of Law for the past year and a half, today officially accepted an assignment from Governor Sean Parnell to become commissioner of natural resources when the governor’s new term begins next month.
“This is a big honor. I want to thank the governor for trusting me to tackle the important energy and resource issues facing the state,” said Sullivan.
“This is a moment of great opportunity for the state. Our mineral, oil, natural gas and renewable energy resources are the envy not only of other states, but of entire countries. I look forward to working to further create opportunities to develop these world-class resources for the benefit of Alaska, Alaskans and our economic future.
“The key to any major resource development project is partnership and buy-in from all important stakeholders. I look forward to building on a strong relationship with the Legislature and with community and industry leaders, and sitting down to meet with them soon.”
Sullivan said he is looking forward to starting the job at DNR. “I’ve already worked with many members of the department, and I know from experience that they are vastly knowledgeable, smart and hard-working. I’m looking forward to building on the excellent work that has already been accomplished by Tom Irwin and Marty Rutherford.”
He added that the moment is bittersweet, as he prepares to leave the Department of Law. “It has been a great pleasure; the department has an excellent team that does great work for the state, and I will miss being a part of it.”
Sullivan was appointed attorney general by former Governor Sarah Palin in June 2009 and received unanimous confirmation by the Legislature during its 2010 session.
As attorney general, Sullivan focused on issues of natural resource management and development. Under his leadership, the Department of Law undertook an aggressive strategy of initiating and intervening in environmental and related federal litigation to protect the state’s economic and resource development interests in areas from timber to mining to Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas development. The Department of Law also focused on ways to overcome obstacles to development from the misuse of the Endangered Species Act.
Sullivan has led the state’s negotiations with ExxonMobil over the disputed Point Thomson oil and gas unit. He also served as chair of the Governor’s Rural Action Subcabinet, as a member of the Governor’s Resource Development Subcabinet and as a trustee of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.
Prior to becoming attorney general, Sullivan served as the U.S. assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs. His nomination by President George W. Bush for this position was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 2006, and he served until January 2009. In this role, he was a senior advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on the formulation and execution of international energy, economic, trade, finance, transportation, telecommunications and Arctic policies. Sullivan also led and managed the 200-employee State Department Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs.
As an assistant secretary of state, much of Sullivan’s work focused on international energy issues. He served as the U.S. Governing Board member of the Paris-based International Energy Agency – the world’s premier energy security organization – and led the agency’s efforts to deepen its ties with China and India. Sullivan and the State Department bureau he led worked closely with the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects on Alaska gas pipeline issues. He strengthened U.S.-Canadian energy ties as the co-chair of the U.S.-Canadian Energy Consultative Group. He also worked on the development and implementation of major gas and oil pipeline projects in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea region.
Sullivan was responsible for overseeing and leading several complex international negotiations of strategic importance to the United States, including sovereign debt restructuring accords and aviation liberalization agreements, and serving as the primary negotiator for President Bush at the Group of Eight (G8) Summits. Previously he was a director in the International Economics Directorate of the National Security Council and National Economic Council staffs at the White House.
Sullivan, 46, has been married for 16 years to Julie Fate Sullivan of Fairbanks. They have three daughters.