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ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles has named his legislative director as the new head of the Department of Natural Resources.
Pat Pourchot, a former state legislator, will succeed John Shively as natural resources commissioner. Shively, who is resigning next month, cited family reasons for his departure.
The governor's office announced the appointment Tuesday in a news release.
''Pat Pourchot has both the needed background in resource management and the experience in dealing with the Legislature to know how to make things happen,'' Knowles said in a prepared statement. ''As my legislative director for the past six years, Pat has been a trusted friend and advisor and it will be good to continue to work with him as he returns to his roots in responsible resource management.''
Pourchot, originally from Illinois, arrived in Alaska in 1972 as a natural resource specialist for the Department of the Interior, according to the governor's office.
Pourchot later worked as a legislative assistant for Sen. Mike Gravel, as a land manager for the Alaska Federation of Natives, a staff assistant to the state Senate resources committee and a resource manager for the NANA Regional Corp.
In the 1980s, he served two terms in the state House of Representatives. He then served as executive director of Commonwealth North, a public policy group based in Anchorage.
As commissioner, Pourchot will earn about $87,000 a year, according to the news release.
''Gov. Knowles has struck the right balance in actively pursuing the development of our natural resources, while insisting that we 'do it right' and protect the environmental values that we as Alaskans hold dear,'' Pourchot said in a prepared statement. ''I look forward to working with the dedicated employees at DNR to continue to make sure that resource decisions look out for the state's best interests and are based on sound science, good management and an open, public process.''
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