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Senator Wielechowski Statement on Termination Of Parnell Cabinet Members

Senator Bill Wielechowski issued the following statement today in response to reports of the termination of Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin and Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford:

“Tom and Marty are both heroes in the most profound sense of the word. They have dedicated their careers to serving the people of Alaska, even when to do so cost them personally. Their departure is a huge loss for Alaska.  Tom has been fearless in fighting to ensure that Point Thomson is developed.  Marty has served Alaskans for nearly three decades.  Her understanding of Alaska resource issues is unsurpassed.  Together she and Tom advanced the cause of building a natural gas pipeline further than anyone else in Alaska’s history.  They have steadfastly and courageously represented Alaska’s interests.”

In 2005, Commissioner Irwin was fired by then-Governor Frank Murkowski for questioning the legality and wisdom of secret negotiations between the Governor’s staff and Alaska’s three largest oil producers over construction of a natural gas pipeline.  Commissioner Irwin believed the Governor’s team was giving away too much in return for too little.  In response to his firing, six other senior staff in the Department of Natural Resources resigned, including Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford.  Both she and Commissioner Irwin were later rehired by Sarah Palin, when she became governor.  Since then, they shaped the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (known as AGIA) to seek open and competitive bids to build a gas line on terms favorable to the state.

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Senator Wielechowski issued the following statement in response to the reported termination of Pat Galvin as Commissioner of the Department of Revenue:

“Pat’s achievements at Revenue are truly towering.  He is a giant in terms of his intellect, his vision for Alaska, and his courage to fight for what’s best for the state in the face of Alaska’s most powerful special interests.  The people of Alaska are losing one of the best advocates they’ve ever had.  Hopefully he will be retained in another prominent position where he can meaningfully serve Alaskans.”

Senator Wielechowski noted that Commissioner Galvin was responsible for the restructuring of Alaska’s oil taxes to ensure that Alaskans receive a fair share for our oil.  This has resulted in Alaska having a surplus of revenue, which has paid for new infrastructure, improved education and enhanced public safety.

For more information, call 242-1558 or 321-1944.

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