Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday named a former director of Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas to be his Natural Resources commissioner.
Dunleavy announced his selection of Corri Feige during a Resource Development Council conference in Anchorage in which he repeated that Alaska would be “open for business” under his administration.
Dunleavy said he would ask Gov. Bill Walker’s administration to halt the creation of any new regulations until the new administration is in place.
He said Walker indicated he was willing to work with Dunleavy on the transition and was hopeful about Walker’s response. Dunleavy takes office Dec. 3.
Walker spokesman Austin Baird said late Wednesday afternoon that the administration had not yet received any direct request from Dunleavy or his team. But he said Walker has no plans to implement new regulations that would restrict resource development.
Through the remainder of his term, Walker “will continue to champion responsible resource development of Alaska’s vast natural resources, from oil and gas to minerals to timber,” Baird wrote in an email.
“Because there was never any plan to implement new regulations restricting resource development, the Governor-elect is effectively asking the Walker Administration to continue the work we’ve been doing for the past four years,” Baird wrote.
At the conference, Dunleavy reiterated his desire to further develop the state’s natural resources as a way to create jobs and boost the economy. He said a focus will be to “reform regulations” in a way to help boost the economy. But he wasn’t more specific.
Speaking to reporters, Feige mentioned looking at regulations and existing programs as the administration seeks to maximize resource development.
Feige has spent her career working in the energy sector, including as a geophysicist and consultant and in management-level positions.
Feige worked as director of the Division of Oil and Gas from April 2015 to October 2016. The division falls under the Department of Natural Resources.
During her tenure, the state maintained its push for more information from top North Slope companies on plans to support a future potential major gas sale.
Walker has been pursuing a liquefied natural gas project, and state-sanctioned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. has been courting Chinese partners as part of that effort. Dunleavy will have to decide whether to stay the course.
Feige’s appointment is subject to legislative confirmation. She is married to former state Rep. Eric Feige of Chickaloon.