Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/05/2019 03:30 PM Senate COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:30:57 PM Start
03:31:38 PM Confirmation Hearing(s): Commissioner, Regulatory Commission of Alaska
03:44:49 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Dan Sullivan, Regulatory Commission of Alaska
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                         March 5, 2019                                                                                          
                           3:30 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Click Bishop, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Chris Birch, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                                           
Regulatory Commission of Alaska - Commissioner                                                                                
Dan Sullivan - Anchorage                                                                                                        
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
DAN SULLIVAN, Commissioner Appointee                                                                                            
Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on his appointment to the                                                              
Regulatory Commission of Alaska.                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:30:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLICK BISHOP called the Senate Community and Regional                                                                   
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. Present                                                                
at  the call  to order  were Senators  Birch, Costello,  Hoffman,                                                               
Gray-Jackson, and Chair Bishop.                                                                                                 
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): Commissioner,  Regulatory Commission of                                                               
                     CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                  
         Commissioner, Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                      
3:31:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BISHOP  announced the  consideration  of  Dan Sullivan  as                                                               
commissioner  appointee to  the Regulatory  Commission of  Alaska                                                               
3:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  SULLIVAN, Commissioner  Appointee,  Public Seat,  Regulatory                                                               
Commission  of Alaska,  Anchorage,  Alaska,  said his  experience                                                               
that relates  to the RCA started  over 30 years ago.  He provided                                                               
his curriculum vitae as follows:                                                                                                
   • The Sullivan Group:                                                                                                        
        o His company represented major international oil                                                                       
          producers for six years:                                                                                              
             square4 Marathon Oil,                                                                                              
             square4 Philips Petroleum.                                                                                         
        o He addressed many statutory and regulatory issues for                                                                 
          the oil producers, an early introduction into the                                                                     
          world of regulated oil and gas producers.                                                                             
   • 1999-2008:                                                                                                                 
        o Served on the Anchorage Municipal Assembly:                                                                           
             square4 Served as chair from 2006-2007.                                                                            
             square4 Mayor from 2009-2015.                                                                                      
             square4 Dealt with issues pertaining to two regulated                                                              
               utilities in Anchorage:                                                                                          
                  • Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility,                                                                     
                  • Municipal Light and Power.                                                                                  
   • 2003-2010:                                                                                                                 
        o Appointed by three different governors to serve on the                                                                
          Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority Board of                                                                     
             square4 Voter approved pipeline project.                                                                           
             square4 Worked seven years on every aspect of developing                                                           
               a natural gas pipeline:                                                                                          
                  • One of the jobs of the RCA is tariffs on                                                                    
                    pipelines and that was an integral part of                                                                  
                    what the board did.                                                                                         
   • 2009-2010:                                                                                                                 
        o Formed the Mayor's Energy Task Force:                                                                                 
             square4 Addressed the looming shortage of gas supply in                                                            
               Cook Inlet:                                                                                                      
                  • Met with stakeholders to make sure there was                                                                
                    reliable gas in Cook Inlet.                                                                                 
             square4 Joined with the mayors of Kenai and Mat-Su                                                                 
               Borough to start brownout drills because the Cook                                                                
               Inlet gas supply was in jeopardy.                                                                                
             square4 Legislature passed bills to incentivize gas                                                                
               exploration and storage in Cook Inlet.                                                                           
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE SULLIVAN  opined  that  utilities have  a                                                               
constant  need to  keep  their facilities  upgraded  so they  can                                                               
provide reliability; however,  at the same there  must be balance                                                               
so that  consumers aren't paying  an exorbitant rate  beyond what                                                               
would  be normally  expected to  get those  services. He  said he                                                               
brings a  good wealth of knowledge  to the RCA but  conceded that                                                               
there is  a lot  to learn. He  noted that the  RCA had  a meeting                                                               
earlier that  day and  opined that  his participation  on various                                                               
proposals was valuable.                                                                                                         
3:36:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GRAY-JACKSON  pointed out  that  the  sale of  Municipal                                                               
Light  and Gas  (ML&P) to  Chugiak Electric  is going  before the                                                               
RCA.  She noted  that  Commissioner Appointee  Sullivan has  been                                                               
outspoken about  the sale of  ML&P to Chugiak Electric  and asked                                                               
if he felt the same today.                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE  SULLIVAN  specified  that  his  previous                                                               
remarks regarding the sale were  directed towards the process. He                                                               
explained that  the Municipality of Anchorage  charter requires a                                                               
60-percent  vote  of the  people  to  sell a  municipal  utility;                                                               
however,  the   vote  requirement  was  changed   to  50  percent                                                               
specifically  for the  ML&P sale.  He said  he did  not like  the                                                               
charter to be tinkered with  for special interest legislation. He                                                               
opined that if  something is of great value and  can be explained                                                               
to  the  public,  there  is  no  reason  to  change  the  charter                                                               
requirement. However,  the vote was  over 60 percent in  favor of                                                               
the sale and that satisfied his concerns about the process.                                                                     
SENATOR  COSTELLO opined  that RCA  appointments are  one of  the                                                               
most significant  that the  Legislature makes  and she  was happy                                                               
that Mr. Sullivan would was appointed.                                                                                          
She asked  if he was  open to reviewing outdated  regulations and                                                               
possibly  taking  them off  the  books  if  it appears  that  the                                                               
environment is different.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE  SULLIVAN   answered  he  was  absolutely                                                               
willing to  do so. He noted  that during the RCA  meeting earlier                                                               
in the  day the question  came up regarding the  inconsistency in                                                               
regulating a particular  aspect of a company's  business. He said                                                               
he always supports  simplification and thinks that  in many cases                                                               
government has  gotten too complicated for  people and businesses                                                               
to easily  navigate. He  stated that  he will do  what he  can to                                                               
simplify things while  keeping in mind that  the watchdog purpose                                                               
of the RCA must be balanced. He opined that he is good at that.                                                                 
3:39:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP asked  what his strongest suit is that  he brings to                                                               
the RCA.                                                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE  SULLIVAN  answered that  he  has  always                                                               
prided himself as an analytical  person who reads documents, gets                                                               
all  the information  he can,  and makes  his decisions  based on                                                               
"factual"  information  and  not  on an  emotional  reaction.  He                                                               
opined  that his  analytical approach  is an  important attribute                                                               
because there  are many issues  that require board members  to do                                                               
their homework  and learn the  facts, something that  he believes                                                               
he does in  a calm and respectful way. He  conceded that meetings                                                               
can get emotional at times when there  is a lot at stake. He said                                                               
his  analytical  attribute  will  allow  him  to  be  responsibly                                                               
knowledgeable,  calm  and  collected,   and  he  will  offer  his                                                               
opinions with the greatest respect  to the people he is directing                                                               
his opinions towards.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  BISHOP  noted that  Commissioner  Appointee  is a  fourth-                                                               
generation Alaskan from Fairbanks Creek, Alaska.                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE  SULLIVAN  replied  that he  grew  up  in                                                               
Fairbanks Creek, noting that his family  mined in the area in the                                                               
early 1900s. He  said some family members still  have gold claims                                                               
in the area.                                                                                                                    
3:41:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH said he and  Commissioner Appointee Sullivan served                                                               
on the  Anchorage Municipal Assembly  together and he  can attest                                                               
that Mayor Sullivan always worked hard and did his homework.                                                                    
He mentioned  the keen interest  in ensuring that Alaska  is open                                                               
for  business and  asked  how he  sees  improving the  regulatory                                                               
environment if  there are redundancies  or measures that  are not                                                               
effective in serving a public purpose.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE SULLIVAN  answered that  one commissioner                                                               
cannot change  any process  because the  panel has  five members,                                                               
and everybody  has their own  viewpoint. However, there  seems to                                                               
be a general consensus that  if businesses should be as efficient                                                               
as  possible. He  noted that  in the  telecommunications business                                                               
there  have been  efforts to  expand  deregulation. The  wireless                                                               
carriers  have a  lighter set  of regulations  than the  hardline                                                               
carriers and efforts are underway  to combine the two groups into                                                               
one less regulated business. He said  the RCA is going to look at                                                               
those  opportunities  in   virtually  everything  the  commission                                                               
COMMISSIONER  APPOINTEE  SULLIVAN   concluded  that  if  removing                                                               
regulation   and  letting   people   work   under  statutes   and                                                               
jurisdictions makes sense, RCA will try and do that.                                                                            
3:43:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP opened public testimony.                                                                                           
3:44:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP closed public testimony.                                                                                           
3:44:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  stated that  in accordance  with AS  39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate   Community  and   Regional  Affairs   Standing  Committee                                                               
reviewed  the   following  and  recommends  the   appointment  be                                                               
forwarded to a joint session for consideration:                                                                                 
Commissioner, Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                                   
Dan Sullivan - Anchorage                                                                                                        
CHAIR  BISHOP reminded  members  that this  does  not reflect  an                                                               
intent  by  any  of  the  members to  vote  for  or  against  the                                                               
confirmation of the individual during any further sessions.                                                                     
He detailed  that this RCA  board appointment runs from  March 1,                                                               
2019 to March 1, 2025.                                                                                                          
3:44:49 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Bishop adjourned the Senate  Community and Regional Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee meeting at 3:44 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Confirmation Resume Regulatory Commission of Alaska Sullivan 2019.pdf SCRA 3/5/2019 3:30:00 PM
Confirmations 2019
RCA Fact Sheet.pdf SCRA 3/5/2019 3:30:00 PM