Democrat breaks ranks with governor on gasline



Anchorage Democrat Geran Tarr, in an expansive and unguarded interview with reporter Steve Quinn, opened up about her doubts about the direction of the AK-LNG project being managed by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and his Alaska Gasline Development Agency.

Rep. Geran Tarr

Rep. Geran Tarr

The interview appears in the current issue of Petroleum News, which is behind a subscriber paywall but will be in print on Monday morning.

Tarr, who is in her fourth year on the House Resources Committee, not only questions the background of the AGDC President Keith Meyer, who has run risky-but-failed projects in the past, she points out the instability of the governor’s oil and gas team, with new players in charge every few months.

At every quarter update to the Legislature, a different person has been reporting to the House and Senate Finance Committees.

Tarr said that at the outset of the Bill Walker Administration, she thought it was more normal because it was a new governor in office, but “we haven’t got to a point of stability. We’ve had some pretty major departures from people I’ve had a lot of confidence in like Marty Rutherford and Mark Myers.” Myers was commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, and Marty was his deputy commissioner, who became acting commissioner before leaving at the end of June.

“It’s surprising that folks would come on in the beginning of the administration and leave just a little over a year after taking the job,” she told Petroleum News. “Generally a person who takes such a high level position is making more of a commitment than that. That’s been difficult. As you lose that institutional knowledge, the next person doesn’t know what happened before.”

The complete interview is here.

Tarr voted to create AK-LNG and has been very involved and outspoken about the process. “She’s done her homework and invested a lot of time in understanding the project,” said one of her legislative colleagues.

She has been a reliable left-leaning Democrat, promoting more taxes on the oil industry and criticizing Republicans routinely for their policies and politics. But she recently wrote an op-ed in which she pushed back on Gov. Walker for threatening her if she did not go along with his fiscal plan. “I must push back when the Governor says that this is about my election. Again, it’s a matter of fairness and equality, I have shared that with Governor Walker,” she wrote.