JUNEAU -

A joint session of the Alaska Legislature has voted largely along party lines to confirm out-of-state nominee Richard Rabinow to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s board of directors.

AGDC is in charge of supervising construction of any future natural gas pipelines in the state of Alaska.

Gov. Sean Parnell submitted Rabinow’s name in September, but since then several lawmakers sought to block his confirmation because Rabinow is a resident of Houston, Texas.

On Wednesday, the governor signed a bill sponsored by House Speaker Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) altering a law barring out-of-state residents from serving on certain state boards. The bill allows the governor to put forward a nominee to the AGDC board if there aren’t any Alaskans qualified to serve on it.

In addition to Rabinow’s residency, some lawmakers still harbor concerns about his 34-year career with ExxonMobil, saying it will cause him to make decisions that benefit the oil industry over Alaska’s interests.

"Despite changing the statute all of two days ago to make his appointment legal, I still object,” said Sen. Hollis French (D-Anchorage).  “He does not live here.  He lives in Texas.”

The Senate confirmed Rabinow on a 14-6 vote, followed by a 29-11 House vote.

"I want the best and the brightest and if we have to import the  because we don't have experience here in Alaska building gas lines, than that's what we need to do,” said Rep. Charisse Millett, (R-Anchorage).

Non-public members of AGDC are paid both their travel expenses and a per diem while on board-related business.