Tag: Sarah Palin

In Alaska, Support for OCS Energy Resources

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar continued the Department’s series of four meetings on developing Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas resources with a daylong session in Anchorage on Tuesday. From AP:

[Governor] Palin warned against the country’s dependence on foreign oil coming from “dangerous regimes” that she said don’t like Americans. With production falling on the North Slope, the amount of oil carried in the trans-Alaska pipeline could fall below carrying capacity in the next decade, the governor said.

“Alaska has decades of safely developing our oil and gas,” Palin said. “There are solutions here in Alaska to America’s energy challenges.”

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, sent Salazar a similar message: Alaska knows how to drill for oil and gas in an environmentally responsible way. [See - Bipartisan support!]

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said Alaska will be left out if it doesn’t act now, especially with China and Russia already staking claims to the North Pole.

“My interest in this is jobs,” Young said.

Gov. Palin (news release) correctly brings energy security back into the focus. How exactly is the United States supposed to free itself from dependence on foreign energy suppliers if the country abandons domestic oil and gas production?

Consider Alaska’s potential alone: The Minerals Management Service estimates that Alaska’s OCS contains 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (or a total of 53 billion barrels of oil equivalent). In comparison, total production from the North Slope since 1977 has been 15.5 billion barrels.

The hearings (the last one is tomorrow in San Francisco) help form the public record for the MMS. In January, MMS released its 2010-2015 five-year leasing plan, including proposals to open new offshore areas to oil and natural gas development. Coming into the Department, Secretary Salazar delayed the plan’s implementation (public comments were heavily in favor of energy development), directed Interior scientists to produce more reports on oil and gas potential off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and extended the public comment period to September.

In case you couldn’t make it to Anchorage, the American Petroleum Institute has created a website to allow the public to comment on the proposed five-year leasing program. Go here. Lots of good resources and facts.

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More on Coal, Bankrupt and Otherwise

Lots of reaction to the remarks by Senator Barack Obama to the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board in January saying that the coal industry and utilities could never build a new coal-fired power plant because his Administration’s policies would “bankrupt” them.

The key quote from Sen. Obama:

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in wind, solar, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches. The only thing that I have said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

The reaction from Gov. Palin, campaigning in Marietta, Ohio.

Now a couple points on this: One is that here again, why is the audio tape just now surfacing? This interview was given to San Francisco folks many, many months ago. You should have known about this, so that you would have better decision-making information as you go into the voting booth.

The value of the information is unquestionable, but the interview had been on the Chronicle’s SFGate website since January, which hardly seems like suppression. Instead, it appears that the Chronicle’s reporters and editors missed the news. Hardly a surprise: In California, killing off productive sectors of the economy is considered sport. They probably just didn’t recognize that Senator Obama’s position was all that unusual. Candidates and Congress demonize and single out the oil industry for punitive tax and regulatory policies, what makes coal that special?

On the other hand, you would have expected someone from the RNC or McCain campaign to listen to the interview at some point and identify the issue, perhaps bringing it up in a debate or a campaign ad. We used to hear about something called “opposition research.” Apparently it’s gone out of fashion.

The Obama campaign responded, as reported in the Charleston (W.V.) Daily Mail, calling the remarks “wildly edited” to take them out of context. Really? “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them…” From a campaign statement:

The point Obama is making is that we need to transition from coal-burning power plants built with old technology to plants built with advanced technologies-and that is exactly the action that will be incentivized under a cap-and-trade program.

So that’s what’s happening to all those banks and investment houses in the financial crisis. They’re “incentivizing” themselves.

(continue reading…)

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Gwen Ifill Can Preserve Her Journalistic Reputation

Along with the financial retrenching (or is it retranching?) bill, the other hot topic on the political blogs today is Gwen Ifill being the moderator of Thursday’s vice presidential debate. Turns out Ifill is writing a book about Senator Obama as an historic figure of American politics, leading to a reasonable-enough conclusion that she prefers the Democratic nominee.  Michelle Malkin has the toughest critique.

Clearly Ms. Ifill needs to demonstrate her independence by being a fair and tough questioner of both candidates.

In the case of Governor Palin, she can ask probing foreign policy questions or even inquire into Alaska’s reliance on federal government spending, earmarks, etc. Find out how the Governor differs from Senator McCain on global warming. All fair game.

And for Senator Biden, we recommend Ms. Ifill delve into the topic of tort reform, that is, the need to fix a legal system that imposes unnecessary and unjust costs on individuals, companies and the economy.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal’s opinion writers have already prepared the ground for Ms. Ifill in a piece today, “Biden & Partners“:

A remarkable political fact of Mr. Biden’s career is that his top campaign contributor is SimmonsCooper, a law firm in Madison County, Illinois, of all places. Aficionados of tort law will understand. SimmonsCooper is a big asbestos player, and Madison County was until recently one of America’s meccas for jackpot justice. But the story gets better: Mr. Biden has been helping the tort bar turn his home state of Delaware into a statewide Madison County.

But Madison County has been cleaning up its act, so the asbestos lawfirms have taken their litigation to Delaware, spending generously on political candidates in the process. What to do?

The trial bar’s strategy has been to overwhelm Delaware’s once-sensible legal system, taking advantage of rules that pressure companies to settle. In the 22 months following SimmonsCooper’s first asbestos filing in Delaware, the state was hit with 412 suits, primarily from SimmonsCooper and fellow asbestos giant Baron & Budd.

So, questions:

Senator Biden, you recently said at a political fundraiser hosted by the national trial lawyers lobby that you’ve “done more than any other senator combined” for trial lawyers. You added, “There are two people — you’ve heard me say it before — two groups that stand between us and the barbarians at the gate. It’s you and organized labor. That’s it. That is it. So, mark my words, mark my words, if we lose this election, you are going to continue to see a continuation of the onslaught on everything we care about.”

  • Senator, who are these barbarians? When you speak of “doing” for the trial lawyers, what do you mean? Blocking tort reform at the federal level? Stopping the confirmation of “rule of law” judges? Do you think these positions have any impact on U.S. economic competitiveness?
  • What do you think of the growing role of the asbestos litigators in Delaware? Do you think they help accomplish justice?
  • Over the past year we have seen the conviction of some of the most prominent trial attorneys in the country, Dickie Scruggs, Bill Lerach, Mel Weiss and others, suggesting a business model built on corruption. Aren’t they the real barbarians at the gate?

Be tough and fair to both candidates, Ms. Ifill. Your journalistic reputation depends on it.

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Maybe We Need to Think This Federal Media Shield Through

Time is running out in Congress for action on a proposed federal media shield legislation, and that’s all for the best. The intentions of supporters of bills like S. 2035, the Free Flow of Information Act, are commendable enough, as they seek to ensure First Amendment freedoms for reporters and sources.

But the public debate has been remarkably narrow, with the major media outlets and the Administration arguing only one side of the story — national security and leaks — ignoring other considerations such as malicious invasion of individual privacy and the business world’s right to protect its intellectual property. In their energetic lobbying campaign for the legislation, journalists have also mixed reporting and advocacy more than usual, even as they failed to report that advocacy.

Today’s news about hackers stealing Gov. Sarah Palin’s private e-mail should surely give pause.  Gawker.com published the information to cause political damage, mock the governor, and demonstrate its ability to do whatever the hell it wants to. Should that theft — a federal crime and an invasion of privacy that serves, we argue, no public interest — be protected via a federal medial shield? Gawker is an awful, malign website (see Michelle Malkin’s reporting for more) that specializes in personal attacks, but First Amendment absolutists would argue that’s exactly the kind of outlet that deserves protection.

From Time: “The Secret Service requested copies of the leaked e-mails from the Associated Press, but the wire service did not comply.”

Why? What principle is being served? “We’re journalists. We don’t have to.” Is that sufficient reason to invoke the First Amendment protections to shield the commission of a crime?

These are important questions of accountability, criminality, the role of the press in a free society and the police-state threats posed not by the police, but by privacy-invading activists on the web. All good reason for more debate and public consideration before Congress passes a federal media shield.

(Earlier posts on the media shield here. And MichelleMalkin.com has good coverage, including this post explaining the hacking.)

UPDATE: (1:20 p.m.) — Instapundit directs us to The Register, “Memo to US Secret Service: Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hacker.”‘

UPDATE (4:15 p.m.) — James Taranto at the WSJ’s Best of the Web identifies the media’s double-standard:

Especially telling in this regard is the AP’s reference to the emails as “leaked.” (The Boston Globe uses the verb leak in its headline for the AP report.) Usually this term refers to a government agency or other organization’s failure to keep a secret. A leaker is someone who is authorized to possess information but not to disclose it.

These emails were not leaked, they were stolen. Here we have an actual invasion of an American citizen’s privacy, and what is the press’s attitude? If the AP is representative (and given its organizational structure, it should be), it is to regard “questions about the propriety” of the victim as more important than the invasion of privacy itself.

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Gov. Palin and the Oil Industry in Alaska

Today’s Wall Street Journal features a defense/explanation of Gov. Sarah Palin’s treatment of the oil industry in Alaska from James P. Lucier Jr., a managing director of the D.C. forecasting/consulting firm of Capital Alpha Partners, LLC. The column, “What Palin Really Did To the Oil Industry,” compares her approach to the previous taxing and economic development programs of Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom Palin defeated in the 2006 Republican primary.

As a new governor in 2007, Mrs. Palin stepped in to address the fiscal crisis and restore accountability. Working with Democrats and Republicans alike, she chose a 25% profits tax. But in lean years the state reverts to a 10% gross revenue tax on legacy fields that do not require massive continuing inputs of new capital.

Relative to the old system, Mrs. Palin’s plan — called “Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share” (ACES) — improves incentives for developing new resources. It ensures the state does well in boom times — as it is doing now — when oil prices are high. But it also hedges against low prices in the future by ensuring that oil companies exposed to commodity price swings don’t face a crushing tax burden when commodity prices fall.

Her plan includes an escalator clause that gives the state a larger share of revenues when oil prices rise. This is common to production-sharing agreements all over the world.

For a more critical look, here’s a business reporter’s column from the Toronto Globe and Mail, “How Big Oil went from friend to foe in Alaska.” The column points out her experience on the powerful Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Perhaps it’s inevitable in a campaign year with “change” as the mantra and populism as the default, but there are still political pitfalls to the McCain-Palin “we took on big oil” rhetoric. If one sector of the economy is defined as suspect, exploitative or evil, it becomes awfully easy to treat other sectors the same. “We took on Detroit. We showed the mining sector who’s the boss. Those manufacturers, we gave them what for. Corner convenience stores? We stuck it to them.” Populism debases.

Maybe all this is an overreaction to campaign rhetoric. On energy policy, it’s hard to beat the clarity and pro-energy realism of Palin’s convention speech, where she said:

Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems — as if we all didn’t know that already.

But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more nuclear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative sources.

We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers.

That’s right.

UPDATE (3 p.m.): The insightful, smart and almost always correct Kim Strassel also looks at Palin and the oil companies in her Potomac Watch column today:

Throughout it all, Mrs. Palin has stood for reform, though not populism. She thanks oil companies and says executives who “seek maximum revenue” are “simply doing their job.” She says her own job is to be a “savvy” negotiator on behalf of Alaska’s citizens and to provide credible oversight. It is this combination that lets her aggressively promote new energy while retaining public trust.

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Heritage on Energy and Palin

Good review of the candidates’ positions on energy from the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell entry on it’s Foundry blog, “Palin Powers Party Today, American Consumers Tomorrow”:

The left says it wants to reduce American dependence on foreign energy, but many of them continue to demonstrate outright ignorance on the issue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, appears to be completely unaware that natural gas is a fossil fuel that requires drilling. Barack Obama is slightly better. He says he wants to drill for more gas and he says he wants to build a natural gas pipeline from Alasaka, but he never has actually done anything to make these dreams a reality. Palin’s record is different.

For years former-Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski tried to strike a deal with the major oil companies to construct a new natural gas pipeline. After Palin defeated Murkowski, she bypassed the oil companies entirely and struck a much better deal for the taxpayers with North America’s largest pipeline operator, TransCanada, a Calgary-based company. The pipeline is set to be completed by 2018 and will give Americans access to 35 trillion cubic feet of gas that need to be drilled from Alaska’s North Slope. The pipeline will ship 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day, through Canada, to U.S. markets. That represents about 7% of current U.S. demand. This pipeline will lower American consumer energy bills. As Palin said last night: “Families cannot throw away more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil.”

Palin wins definite points for being pro-development, pro-energy, pro-economic-growth.

And Heritage’s formulation of Alaska’s energy politics is one we prefer. Far preferable — rhetorically, politically and economically — to emphasize that you “struck a much better deal for the taxpayers” — than boasting about beating back the oil companies, the kind of talk that just feeds populist know-nothingism.

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Report from St. Paul: Gov. Palin, the Speech

(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)

What a time in our country’s history – Republicans will nominate their first female candidate for Vice President – Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Which ever party wins the White House, they will make history like never before – the first female Vice President or the first African-American President.

As Ronald Reagan said – The time is now.

In her speech accepting the nomination for Vice President this evening, Governor Palin made sure America knew she is ready for the job she is seeking. (Excerpts)

Last week, I blogged about my own mother’s rise as one of the first female CEOs in southern Ohio. It’s been a long road for the women of America, but as Hillary Clinton recently said, women are poised to finally break through the highest glass celling of them all. She may have thought she was talking about someone else, but turns out she was prophetic.

A reform-minded executive who understands fiscal responsibility, the Governor summed up her philosophy aptly: “I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, by veto if necessary.”

She concisely laid out a common sense approach to more domestic energy supply and lower prices at the pump as she called for more pipelines, nuclear facilities, clean coal and alternative sources: “We need to produce more of our own oil and gas….We need American energy produced by American ingenuity and brought to you by American workers.”

There are two months before the election and voters will learn more about all the candidates for President and Vice President. But if tonight is any indication, the Republican nominee for Vice President has shown SHE is ready to talk about public policy solutions that will positively impact real people in the real world.

And I’m pretty sure Americans will be listening.

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NAM’s Executive VP Jay Timmons on Sarah Palin’s Selection

(Bumped to the top: NAM’s executive vice president, Jay Timmons, has been blogging this week from the National Democratic Convention in Denver. Today, Timmons reacts to Sen. John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, drawing on his experience as the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Comimttee.)

While the pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a surprise to many, it was clearly a calculated move by Senator John McCain to also make history in this year’s election. A trailblazer for women, she could be an attractive alternative for those who had believed Hillary Clinton would have been the strongest pick for Barack Obama.

Governor Palin, a star of pro-life party members, will help ease the concerns of social conservatives who were worried McCain would choose a pro-choice Republican (or Democrat) to be his second in command. She is a strong executive (the only candidate for President or Vice President this year who has such experience) and does not shy from difficult decisions. She won admiration from her fellow Alaskans when she returned to the job of Governor last year just three days after giving birth to her fifth child.

She has adhered to a fairly conservative fiscal policy as well (although Alaska has quirky budgetary provisions). On energy, Governor Palin could be helpful in convincing Senator McCain to support development on the north slope of Alaska near ANWR.

No stranger to talking tough challenges, she defeated an incumbent Governor – a fellow Republican – in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. This was the same Governor who appointed her to head an agency in his administration, a job she later resigned in protest over her concern that ethical standards were not being followed.

The Governor is an incredibly engaging public official and will be a strong advocate for a McCain presidency on the trail. In 2004, I sat down with her in a local restaurant near Wasilla, Alaska, to discuss her interest in running for the U.S. Senate against fellow Republican and incumbent Lisa Murkowski. Armed with polling information and precinct data, I was prepared to discuss her thoughts on whether she could win the race. She was only interested in talking about how she thought she could make an impact on national public policy – a focus on fiscal discipline, lower taxes on working Americans and strong support for the military and exporting freedom.

I was thoroughly impressed. And Americans are likely to be impressed with her story and record as well. John McCain has chosen wisely.

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Alaska’s First Dude: An Advocate for Manufacturing, Energy

From an Anchorage Daily News profile of Todd Palin, the husband of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican candidate for vice president.

White-collar jobs in law, education or health care are typical among the current crop of first spouses, but Palin spent nearly 20 years as a blue-collar employee in the oil fields of the North Slope. And every summer he heads west to his birthplace in Dillingham to work the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery from his property on the Nushagak River.

A lifetime of manual labor in the state’s two largest and most physically demanding industries is helping Palin carve out his role as Alaska’s first spouse, or “first dude,” a nickname he has in common with the Kansas governor’s husband, Gary Sebelius.

Like other first spouses around the country, Palin has been asked to champion an array of causes or institutions since his wife took office in December.

His favorite is steering young Alaskans toward stable jobs in the oil and gas industry. It’s a singular choice among his counterparts, whose pet issues include schools, public health, domestic violence, poverty or the arts.

It’s great to see any person in the public eye pushing industry as a good place to build a career.

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Sarah Palin as McCain’s Pick for Vice President

We do not have an NAM voting record to post for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, obviously, and are really aware only of her strong record in support for domestic energy development. (Although there might be a little institutional leaning toward governors around here, too.)  On economic issues, we’re heartened by Larry Kudlow’s praise for her, as Larry is an avid, tireless, smart, good supporter of the U.S. manufacturing economy and global competitiveness. Here’s what Kudlow said this a.m. at National Review Online:

McCain-Palin? I’ll Be Thrilled [Larry Kudlow]

If the rumors about Sarah Palin are true, I will be thrilled. She’s been my first choice all along. She’s a strong pro-life, supply-side, drill-drill-drill-ethics reformer who has worked hard to change the Ted Stevens culture-of-corruption problem in Alaska. A cheap-shot Democratic legislative investigation of Palin appeared to slow her momentum down a few weeks ago. But John McCain would electrify everyone if this choice pans out.

Here and here are the transcripts of my most recent interviews with Gov. Palin on K&C.

Palin: Alaskans are frustrated because there is opposition in Congress to developing our vast amount of natural resources. We want to contribute more to the rest of the United States. We want to help secure the United States, and help us get off this reliance of foreign sources of energy.

It’s a very nonsensical position we’re in right now. We send President Bush and Secretary (of Energy Sam) Bodman overseas to ask the Saudis to ramp up production of crude oil so that hungry markets in America can be fed, (and) your sister state in Alaska has those resources. But these lands are locked up by Congress, and we are not allowed to drill to the degree America needs the development.

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