Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources

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Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2014 FY Budget:  $32,242,500
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Serves at pleasure of the governor
Authority:  Alaska Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 5, Section 20
Selection Method:  Appointed by governor
Current Officeholder
Name:  Mark Myers
Officeholder Party:  Nonpartisan
Assumed office:  December 2014
Compensation:  $136,350
Other Alaska Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralComptrollerEducation CommissionerRevenue CommissionerAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerRegulatory Commission
The Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources is a state executive position in the Alaska state government. The commissioner is the principal chief executive of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which manages all state-owned land and water resources except fish and game.[1] The commissioner is appointed by the governor with the consent of the state legislature. The position is nonpartisan.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Mark Myers. He was first appointed to the office by Gov. Bill Walker (I) in December 2014. Myers replaced acting commissioner Joe Balash, who served in office from September 2013 to December 2014.[2]


The natural resource commissioner's authority is based in statute, which establishes the commissioner as the principal executive officer of the Department of Natural Resources.[3]

Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 37, Section 10

The principal executive officer of the Department of Natural Resources is the commissioner of natural resources.


Like all principal executive officers in the Alaska government, the commissioner of natural resources must "furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law," the cost of which is paid by the state. Otherwise, there are no special qualifications for the office of commissioner of revenue.[4]

Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 50

The principal executive officer of each department and subordinate officials shall furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law or determined by the governor upon recommendation of the commissioner of administration. The state shall pay the cost of the bond. The attorney general shall approve the form of the bond.


Alaska state government organizational chart

The commissioner of natural resources, like all Alaska executive department heads, is appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature.[5]

Alaska Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 5, Section 20

The governor shall appoint the head of each principal executive department in the state government. Each appointment is subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session.

Term limits

There are no term limits for the office of natural resources commissioner. The officeholder serves at the pleasure of the governor.


Alaska law does not prescribe any particular procedure for dealing with vacancies. It is the governor's responsibility to appoint a new commissioner of natural resources, subject to approval from the legislature.


See Energy policy in Alaska for information on the state's energy portfolio and goals.

As head of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the commissioner is responsible for "all state-owned land, water and natural resources, except for fish and game, on behalf of the people of Alaska."[6] He or she appoints and oversees the directors of the eight divisions of the department -- see, for example, Alaska Director of Agriculture.

The commissioner has additional duties with respect to the development, regulation and promotion of Alaskan agriculture:

Alaska Statutes, Title 3, Chapter 5, Section 10

(a) The commissioner of natural resources shall

(1) direct, administer, and supervise promotional and experimental work, extension services, and agricultural projects for the purpose of promoting and developing the agricultural industry within the state...

(2) procure and preserve all information pertaining to the development of the agricultural industry and disseminate that information to the public;

(3) assist prospective settlers... desiring to engage in the agricultural industry in the state with information concerning areas suitable for agriculture and other activities...

(4) review the marketing, financing, and development of agricultural products inside the state...

(5) regulate and control the entry into the state and the transportation, sale, or use inside the state of plants, seeds, vegetables, [etc]...

(6) regulate the farming of elk...



The Alaska Department of Natural Resources contains eight separate divisions, each of which is responsible for developing some particular natural resource or group of resources. Each division is run by a director who reports to and is appointed by the commissioner. The divisions include:

  • Division of Agriculture
  • Division of Coastal & Ocean Management
  • Division of Forestry
  • Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys
  • Division of Mining, Land & Water
  • Division of Oil and Gas
  • Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
  • Support Services Division

The commissioner of natural resources also oversees a number of smaller offices, including:

  • Joint Pipeline Office
  • Mental Health Trust Land Office
  • Public Information Center
  • Office of Boating Safety
  • Office of History & Archaeology
  • Office of Project Management & Permitting/ACMP
  • State Historic Preservation Office
  • Recorder's Office/UCC

State budget

See also: Alaska state budget and finances

The budget for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in Fiscal Year 2014 was $32,242,500.[7]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources' salary is bound to a range determined by statute; it must be no less than Range 28 of the Alaska executive branch employee salary schedule nor more than Range 30.[8]


In 2014, the commissioner's salary increased to $136,350, according to the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2013, the commissioner was paid an estimated $135,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 21 Alaska Commissioners of Natural Resources since 1959. Three past commissioners—John T. Shively, Pat Pourchot and Tom Irwin—served twice non-consecutively.[10]

List of Former Officeholders from 1959-Present
# Name Tenure
1 Phil Holdsworth 1959-1967
2 Thomas Kelly 1968-1971
3 Charles F. Herbert 1971-1974
4 Guy R. Martin 1975-1977
5 Robert LeResche 1977-1980
6 John W. Katz 1981-1982
7 Esther C. Wunnicke 1983-1986
8 Judy M. Brady 1987-1988
9 Lennie Gorsuch 1989-1990
10 Ron Swope 1990
11 Harold C. Heinze 1990-1992
12 Glenn A. Olds 1992-1993
13 Harry A. Noah 1993-1994
14 John T. Shively 1995-2000
15 Pat Pourchot 2000-2001
16 John T. Shively 2001
17 Pat Pourchot 2001-2003
18 Tom Irwin 2003-2006
19 Mike Menge 2006-2007
20 Marty Rutherford 2007
21 Tom Irwin 2007-2010
22 Daniel Sullivan 2010-2013
23 Joe Balash 2013-2014
24 Mark Myers 2014-present

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Alaska Commissioner Natural Resources."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources - Google News Feed

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Contact info


550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1260
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 269-8400
Fax: (907) 269-8901

See also

External links

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