Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

03/05/2019 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
Download Video part 1. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
08:03:59 AM Start
08:04:46 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): Regulatory Commission of Alaska
08:18:19 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Regulatory Commission of AK
-- Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                         March 5, 2019                                                                                          
                           8:03 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Sara Hannan, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Sharon Jackson                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):  REGULATORY COMMISSION OF ALASKA                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - Dan Sullivan - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DAN SULLIVAN, Appointee                                                                                                         
Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Regulatory                                                                 
Commission of Alaska.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:03:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET   DRUMMOND  called  the  House   Community  and                                                             
Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee  meeting to  order at  8:03                                                               
a.m.   Representatives  Jackson, Thompson,  Hannan, and  Drummond                                                               
were  present  at  the  call to  order.    Representative  Claman                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):  Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                      
   CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):  Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                
                                                                                                                              
8:04:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   announced  that  the  only   order  of                                                               
business  would be  the confirmation  hearing  on the  Regulatory                                                               
Commission of Alaska.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:05:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAN SULLIVAN,  Appointee, Regulatory Commission of  Alaska (RCA),                                                               
stated that he has prior experience  he believes will help him to                                                               
be an  effective member  of the  commission.   He stated  that 30                                                               
years  ago  his  company,  The Sullivan  Group,  represented  the                                                               
Marathon  Group and  Phillips Petroleum  for five  to six  years,                                                               
working primarily on  statutory issues.  He  said that experience                                                               
provided a good introduction to  the function of regulations.  He                                                               
related  that   from  1999-2008,  he  served   on  the  Anchorage                                                               
Municipal Assembly;  from 2009-2015,  he served  as mayor  of the                                                               
Municipality  of Anchorage.   During  that  time he  said he  had                                                               
extensive   interaction  with   the   municipality's  two   major                                                               
utilities for water and electricity  and experience regarding the                                                               
related regulatory issues.  Mr.  Sullivan told the committee that                                                               
he also served  on the board of directors for  the Alaska Natural                                                               
Gas Development  Authority (ANGDA)  from 2003-2010, where  he did                                                               
extensive work toward building a  gas pipeline.  During that time                                                               
he met  with every utility.   He indicated that ANGDA's  work got                                                               
the attention of the legislature,  and former Representative Mike                                                               
Hawker  sponsored  a  bill to  incentivize  new  exploration  and                                                               
production in  Cook Inlet, as well  as a gas storage  facility on                                                               
the Kenai  Peninsula - both  important in ensuring gas  supply to                                                               
"half the population of the state."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:08:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said Mr. Sullivan  has been outspoken regarding                                                               
his  opposition  to  the  merger  between  Chugach  Electric  and                                                               
Municipal  Light  and Power.    She  said  that during  a  Senate                                                               
Finance meeting on February 13,  2019, Mr. Sullivan had clarified                                                               
that he  would not  recuse himself  from considering  the merger.                                                               
She  asked  Mr.  Sullivan  how  he  would  stay  neutral  in  his                                                               
consideration of  the merger, given  his strong opinions  on "the                                                               
way the merger was executed by the municipality."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:09:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN clarified  that his objection was not  to the merger                                                               
itself  but to  "the fact  that a  required 60  percent vote  was                                                               
being altered  to a 50  percent requirement."   He said,  "I just                                                               
don't think the charter should be  trifled with ... for a special                                                               
interest legislation."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:09:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN remarked  that RCA  is responsible  for ensuring                                                               
utilities  are  accessible  throughout  the entire  state.    She                                                               
stated that  Governor Mike Dunleavy's  proposed budget  would cut                                                               
the  Power Cost  Equalization  Program (PCEP)  that ensures  rate                                                               
stabilization for rural Alaskans.   She asked Mr. Sullivan how he                                                               
would respond to requests from  rural communities to keep utility                                                               
rates down, especially if the (PCEP) fund is drained.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:10:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN responded that the  commission takes everything on a                                                               
case-by-case basis,  at which point  the commission looks  at the                                                               
facts,  considers  staff  recommendations,  and  listens  to  the                                                               
public in order to make its decisions.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN set up a  hypothetical scenario in which there is                                                               
no  PCEP  and cost  of  utilities  for rural  Alaska  "quadruples                                                               
overnight."    She  asked  Mr.  Sullivan  what  he  would  do  to                                                               
"stabilize the economic future of rural Alaska's power access."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN  answered that  he does not  think anybody  wants to                                                               
see  rural Alaska's  utility rates  quadruple, and  he reiterated                                                               
that [the  commission] would consider  all the facts.   He stated                                                               
that the legislature has the  opportunity to restore funding, and                                                               
he surmised  that utilities in  rural Alaska would be  a priority                                                               
issue for the legislature.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:11:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON  asked whether  Mr. Sullivan's  goal would                                                               
be  to ensure  all communities  - "rural  and the  inner" -  have                                                               
affordable utilities.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN answered, "Absolutely."  He  said one of the jobs of                                                               
a  commissioner  is  to find  balance  between  affordability  to                                                               
consumers   and  the   utilities'  ability   to  maintain   their                                                               
businesses.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:12:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  offered  his understanding  that  in  the                                                               
fall, the  RCA had taken  up a proposed  telecommunications bill,                                                               
and he  said he  thinks that legislation  would be  considered in                                                               
the next few  weeks.  He asked if Mr.  Sullivan was familiar with                                                               
the issue.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN  answered that he  had not had  a chance to  look at                                                               
any  specific  cases, having  been  occupied  with paperwork  his                                                               
first two days with RCA.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:14:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  noted Mr. Sullivan  has an  extensive background                                                               
in the  oil and gas industry,  and she asked how  he would remain                                                               
impartial and  provide "unbiased  regulatory action"  when issues                                                               
related to  oil and gas  tariffs and regulations come  before the                                                               
commission, so  that his former employers  and stockholders would                                                               
not be "advantaged over other oil and gas entities."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN  answered that his  work with oil and  gas companies                                                               
took place  almost 30  years ago;  his work  since then  has been                                                               
with utilities, regulation, and a municipal assembly.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:15:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 8:15 a.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  opened public  testimony.   After ascertaining                                                               
that there  was no one who  wished to testify, she  closed public                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:16:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON  congratulated the  appointee and  said it                                                               
is nice  to hear  that his goal  is to find  balance and  [to be]                                                               
non-biased  and   "have  a  future"   in  which  there   will  be                                                               
"affordable utilities across Alaska."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:17:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN stated  that the  House  Community and  Regional                                                               
Affairs  Standing Committee  has reviewed  the qualifications  of                                                               
the governor's appointee and recommends  that Dan Sullivan's name                                                               
be forward  as appointee to  the Regulatory Commission  of Alaska                                                               
to  the joint  session of  the House  and Senate.   She  reminded                                                               
members  that  signing  the  reports  regarding  appointments  to                                                               
boards  and commissions  in no  way reflects  individual members'                                                               
approval  or   disapproval  of  the  appointees,   and  that  the                                                               
nominations  are merely  forwarded  to the  full legislature  for                                                               
confirmation  or  rejection.    [No  motion  was  made,  and  the                                                               
confirmation was considered advanced.]                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:18:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Community  and Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee meeting  was                                                               
adjourned at 8:18 a.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Dan Sullivan_Resume.pdf HCRA 3/5/2019 8:00:00 AM
RCA Fact Sheet.pdf HCRA 3/5/2019 8:00:00 AM