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Parnell takes reins of national oil and gas commission

Eric Christopher Adams

Alaska's governor has been named chairman of a national association of oil and gas-producing states.

Gov. Sean Parnell is attending the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission in Buffalo, N.Y. for its annual meeting, where he assumed chairmanship Monday, according to a statement from his office. The commission represents 38 oil and gas-producing American states, and "serves as the collective voice of member governors on oil and gas issues and advocates states' rights to govern petroleum resources within their borders."

Parnell takes over from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, according to a press release posted to the website of the Alaska governor. Other Alaska governors who have led the commission include Steve Cowper, Tony Knowles, Frank Murkowski and Sarah Palin.

A different governor is picked each year from the representative states to lead the Oklahoma City-based commission. A "chairman's initiative" indicates where the group will focus its influence. The last initiative posted on the group's website charged the commission with stimulating "the underdevelopment of domestic and natural gas resources in underdeveloped basins."

The IOGCC hasn't yet published a chairman's initiative from Parnell. But during his keynote speech at this year's meeting, he called upon the representatives of member states "to work together and help make the case that increasing energy production at home" makes economic sense during a time of widespread national unemployment and a negative trade balance.

In Parnell's speech, he outlined what types of jobs he believes could be created from an increase in domestic energy production: "Drillers, drivers, roustabouts and steel workers. Graphic designers and mechanical engineers. Plumbers, and painters, and teachers, bookkeepers, truck drivers and mechanics. High-tech and low-tech: The jobs created by oil and gas are the jobs Americans do."

Parnell told the states that his policy initiative to grow oil and gas production in Alaska could be a model for the nation, "to bring energy and jobs to all of America, now."

The group receives federal grants to, among other things, train regulators on the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic energy resources. IOGCC also maintains a hydrofracking chemical registry website called FracFocus.

Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)alaskadispatch.com