The eco-rundown on Alaska guv Sarah Palin, John McCain’s veep pick
Last updated 10:29 a.m. PDT
GOP presidential candidate John McCain today announced that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be his running mate in the race against Barack Obama and Joe Biden. McCain’s official announcement of his veep pick declares, “Governor Palin has challenged the influence of the big oil companies while fighting for the development of new energy resources. She leads a state that matters to every one of us — Alaska has significant energy resources and she has been a leader in the fight to make America energy independent.”
Here are some quick snapshots of Palin’s record on issues related to energy and the environment:
- Opposed a statewide ballot initiative to prohibit or restrict new mining operations that could affect salmon in the state’s streams and rivers
- Has pushed to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope
- Got the state legislature to pass a bill to provide each Alaskan $1,200 to help with energy costs
- Sued the Interior Department over its decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species
- Has proposed eliminating Alaska’s gas tax
- Has pushed to open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling
- Has created a committee to forge Alaska’s climate-change strategy, and has made Alaska an observer (but not a member) of the Western Climate Initiative
- Opposes a windfall profits tax on oil companies
- Was the ethics commissioner of the Alaska Gas and Oil Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004
- Lifelong angler and hunter
- Husband is an oil production operator for BP on Alaska’s North Slope
- Started Alaska’s Petroleum Systems Integrity Office, an oversight and maintenance agency for the state’s oil and gas equipment, facilities, and infrastructure
- Chairs the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multistate panel “that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety and the environment”
- Believes intelligent design should be taught along with evolution in science classes
Quotable quotes from Palin:
When I look every day, the big oil company’s building is right out there next to me, and it’s quite a reminder that we should have mutually beneficial relationships with the oil industry.
Alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop.
I believe in protecting Alaska’s environment through fair enforcement of our environmental laws. Having a clean record on environmental regulation is critical to getting ANWR open and maintaining our fisheries, mining, timber, and tourism industries.
I am not only a champion for Alaskaâ€™s fishing industry, but a part of it. My family is proud to be a Bristol Bay fishing family. Thatâ€™s why, as Governor I will do whatâ€™s right for Alaskaâ€™s fishing communities. I know the resource must come first in our management decisions. If we manage for abundance, we should have enough fish for all our needs.
We believe that the … decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available.
I am encouraged with [John McCain’s] evolved thinking on offshore drilling, and I think he might come along on ANWR if he sees our 2,000 acres for himself.
I get frustrated with folks from outside Alaska who come up and say, “You shouldn’t develop your resources.”
We have so much potential from tapping our resources here in Alaska. And we can do this with minimum environmental impact. We have a very pro-development president in President Bush, and yet he failed to push for opening up parts of Alaska to drilling through Congress — and a Republican-controlled Congress, I might add.
I thought when we hit $100 a barrel for oil it would have been a psychological barrier that would have caused Congress to reconsider, but they didn’t. Now we are approaching $200 a barrel. It’s nonsense not to tap a safe domestic source of oil. I think Americans need to hold Congress accountable on this one.
A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute [global warming] to being man-made.
I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem or that more supply won’t ultimately affect prices. Of course it will affect prices.
Reactions to the pick:
Obama campaign spokesperson Bill Burton:
Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil, and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.
Sierra Club President Carl Pope:
With the pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate, John McCain’s race towards the Bush administration’s failed energy policy is now complete.
John McCain was once willing to stand up to his own party, but now that he is running for President, he supports the same Bush policies and powerful special interests that put us in the grip of the oil companies. One of the last remaining independent policies putting him at odds with Bush was his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, yet he has now picked a running mate who has opposed holding Big Oil accountable and been dismissive of alternative energy while focusing her work on more oil drilling in a wildlife refuge and off of our coasts.
Senator McCain has lost any chance of having a balanced or moderate ticket with this choice and has instead opted for the same, business-as-usual reliance on the outdated oil companies that has been the hallmark of the Bush-Cheney administration. On the third anniversary of the hurricane that knocked loose oil rigs and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf Coast that is bracing for another hit, McCain is sending a terribly indifferent message by selecting a candidate who only repeats Big Oil’s talking points.
Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder:
Sarah Palin’s record is not extensive — just two years ago she was the mayor of a city of less than 10,000 people — but what her record indicates is troubling. This spring, she opposed the listing of polar bears as a ‘threatened’ species. She supports the brutal aerial hunting of wolves. And she has been a friend of Big Oil, opposing a windfall profits tax on the oil industry that could fund affordable clean energy for more Americans. Palin’s husband works for BP.
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski:
Unfortunately, with her support for drilling in the Arctic Refuge and off our coasts, Governor Palin will simply continue the failed policies of the Bush-Cheney Administration and their Big Oil friends — policies that could make us even more dependent on foreign oil.
Governor Palin characterizes McCainâ€™s flip-flop on drilling offshore as a positive step in his transformation from maverick to Big Oil’s best friend. She has implored McCain to change his position against drilling in the Arctic — something she will have plenty of opportunities to pursue as his running mate.
In addition to supporting backward-looking energy policies, Governor Palin has also opposed a crucial clean water initiative, sued the federal government for listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and opposed other important wildlife protection measures.