Alaska News

Alaska's pricey pipeline negotiator says he's been sent home to South Carolina

The state's high-priced negotiator on its $55 billion gas pipeline project says he's been sent home to South Carolina for some "time off" at Gov. Bill Walker's request, without a return ticket to Alaska.

Attorney Rigdon Boykin, who's paid $120,000 monthly, has been working for the state since March and is Alaska's lead negotiator on the pipeline project, which would join the state with three oil producers to export natural gas from the North Slope.

Legislators have voiced skepticism over Boykin's salary and his role in the project. Some legislators have compared his brash style to that of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Boykin, meanwhile, once described his salary as a "peanut," saying that he's working at a discount because he's a friend of Walker's.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Boykin sounded unsure about his status with the state, saying that he doesn't have a plane ticket back to Alaska.

"I was just told to come down to take some time off," Boykin said, adding that that message had come from the governor. "So that's what I'm doing."

Walker's spokeswoman, Katie Marquette, wouldn't discuss Boykin's status. She said questions about his role would be answered Thursday at a meeting of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.'s board of directors.

AGDC is the state-owned corporation that helps manage Alaska's role in the pipeline project, and it holds Boykin's current contract, which runs through the end of December.

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Dan Fauske, the corporation's president, said at a committee hearing last month that he has the power to fire Boykin.

Reached by phone late Wednesday, Fauske said he wasn't sure of Boykin's status either, adding that he was in the process of "trying to get clarity on this issue."

Nathaniel Herz

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist. He’s been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at natherz.substack.com

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