One of the top executives for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is leaving less than two weeks after a new law was signed advancing a proposed natural gas pipeline.
Administrative Services Director Deborah Bitney joined AGDC about a year ago. She is leaving to pursue “long-standing personal and professional interests,” according to a state news release.
“I feel blessed to have had an opportunity to work with such a dynamic team and to have helped build this corporation from the ground up,” Bitney said in a prepared statement. “AGDC has a truly unique mission with tremendous long-term significance to Alaskans.”
The exact reasons behind Bitney’s departure were unknown, and she said leaving wasn’t an obvious choice.
“I leave with mixed emotions, but after seven years of state service, I’m anxious to explore some other areas of interest,” her statement continued.
The move comes as a surprise to many given that Republican Gov. Sean Parnell’s hallmark gasline legislation — SB138 — recently passed the Legislature and became law during a May 8 signing in Fairbanks.
The primary purpose of AGDC is to pursue a large-scale gasline project in the state, and the project proposed in SB138 will be one of the world’s biggest if it’s completed. AGDC President Dan Fauske said the loss is a significant one for the corporation.
“Deb has been critical to our success and a trusted member of my senior management team. Her extensive experience with the State of Alaska proved invaluable over the past 12 months as we reorganized from being a subsidiary of (Alaska Housing Finance Corporation) into an independent, public corporation”, Fauske said. “I hate to lose her, but wish her great success in her new endeavors.”