Gov. Bill Walker’s commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development is the new director for the Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, according to sources familiar with the process. The announcement will be made next week.
Hladick oversees six divisions and seven corporate agencies for the State of Alaska.
According to his bio at the State web site, he is on the boards of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Marine Pilots, Alaska Railroad Corporation, and Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Hladick also serves on the National Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee’s Arctic Working Group and on the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Cooperation task force.
In 2011, Hladick was appointed by the Alaska State Legislature to the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission. He is also a member of the Alaska Municipal League and the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference.
Hladick was Unalaska city manager for 14 years. At Unalaska, he fought the federal government and won after the Department of Justice threatened $158 million in fines, claiming the city had for years dumped sewage pollutants into the harbor. The EPA wanted to impose up to $37,500 a day for violations. His fighting of federal overreach was an important factor in him winning the EPA post.
Previously, Commissioner Hladick served as city manager in Dillingham, Alaska, and as the city manager and public works director in Galena, Alaska.
As the Region 10 director, he will be front and center on the decision about whether the federal agency will allow the Pebble Limited Partnership to proceed through a fair and thorough vetting process for the proposed Pebble mine in Western Alaska.
That could be awkward. Gov. Walker has come out against the mine, saying he has not been convinced it will be safe to the salmon in Bristol Bay, hundreds of miles away.
Earlier this month, Pebble presented the outline of a new concept for the mine, with a much smaller footprint and addressing all of the EPA concerns that became barricades during the Obama Administration, when Gina McCarthy was the Administrator.
Gov. Walker earlier put Hladick on the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board, but later removed him during a week of drama at the governor’s gasline corporation. Walker removed Hladick and John Burns from the board, and the next day the president of AGDC, Dan Fauske, resigned.
Evidently, Hladick was not good enough in the governor’s eyes to be on the AGDC board, but is good enough to run District 10 of EPA, which covers the Northwest. Walker is known to have written a letter of support for Hladick’s candidacy.
Fred Parady is deputy commissioner of DCEED and will likely serve as interim commissioner while a replacement is determined.
Must Read Alaska will update this story as details become available.