GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan released another ad on Wednesday. This one features Richard Faulkner, president of Anchorage-based Steelfab, and Peter Macksey, head of customer relations at Steelfab, the steel plant that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich featured in one of his own recent ads. In that ad, Begich boasts that he got Steelfab “more business because I got the administration to allow more drilling.” When reached on the phone, however, Faulker called Begich’s claim “totally false” and was “upset,” to put it politely, when he saw it.
The Sullivan ad says that as DNR commissioner, Sullivan got results, “1200 jobs worth of results,” Macksey says.
Macksey is referring to the North Slope’s Point Thomson, an oil and gas field about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. The field was originally discovered in 1977 and has been the subject of decades of legal challenges between the state and ExxonMobil, which holds the lease rights. Sullivan negotiated terms as DNR commissioner. Some of those terms have been criticized, but to date, ExxonMobil has spent about $2 billion of the budgeted $4 billion that it plans to spend for full production. At its peak this winter, about 1,200 people were working on the project. Hence the ad’s job claim.
Faulkner said that business has increased “drastically” recently. He credits oil tax reform and the Point Thomson settlement. He was doing some work for Shell when it was preparing to drill in the Arctic, but after a series of blunders, the Obama administration shut Shell’s Arctic program down pending an overhaul of Shell’s plans.
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