Commissioner background

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

I think the Empire owes it to readers who did not vote for Mr. Murkowski to do a little more reporting on the new governor's cabinet choices. I had to read the Anchorage paper to learn our new Department of Environmental Conservation leader spent much of her recent career as a timber industry lobbyist. According to the Anchorage paper, Ernesta Ballard headed up Cape Fox Corporation timber operations, worked for Ketchikan Pulp Co., lobbied for the North West CruiseShip Association and is currently the treasurer of the Alaska Forest Association, a pro-timber trade group.

Sounds like she would make a great Department of Natural Resources chief for the Murkowski administration. But DEC commissioner? While the timber industry has been an important part of the Southeast economy since World War II, it is not the job of timber industry leaders to protect air and water and soil quality in Southeast Alaska. That is a job best left to other professionals, since our children depend on clean water and healthy air every bit as much as their parents having a job. Was Ms. Ballard's background difficult to research, did you have too tight of a deadline for your Monday story on Murkowski's recent appointments, or did you not find her career of interest?

Jay Stange


Deadlines did limit Monday's coverage. - Editor

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