Friday, May 05, 2006

Bush to nominate Myers to run US Geological Survey

Bush to nominate Myers to run US Geological Survey
By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - President Bush plans to nominate Mark Myers, a critic of Alaska's Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski's close ties with oil companies, to head the U.S. Geological Survey, the White House said on Thursday.

Myers stepped down as Alaska's oil and gas manager in October to protest Murkowski's secret negotiations with oil companies to build a natural gas pipeline. Myers deemed the concessions to major oil producers to be too generous.

Reached at his home in Anchorage, Myers said there is no link between the events surrounding his departure from the Murkowski administration and his nomination to head the USGS, a scientific agency within the Interior Department responsible for studying the American landscape and its natural resources.

Myers was one of six Alaska Department of Natural Resources deputies to resign in solidarity after Murkowski fired the department's commissioner, Tom Irwin, for criticism about the governor's fiscal terms for a $20 billion natural gas pipeline.

Irwin said in a memorandum that the governor's concessions would shortchange the state to the benefit of ConocoPhillips, BP and Exxon Mobil. Murkowski reached an agreement in February with major oil companies but the contract has not been released for public review.