Palin on Energy: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Response
Barbara Boxer, chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and John Kerry, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, write in “What Palin Got Wrong About Energy“:
Whether it was the debate over the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Superfund law or any other landmark environmental law, one pattern has always been clear: Time and again, pessimists — often affiliated with polluting industries — predicted job losses and great costs to taxpayers. Each time, our environmental laws have cleaned the water we drink, the air we breathe and the communities we live in at far lower cost than initially expected.
Recall that Palin, who quit her governorship Sunday, is so ignorant of energy, so practiced at repeating falsehoods, that in September, during the campaign, the Washington Post itself gave her its highest (which is to say lowest) rating of “Four Pinocchios” for continuing “to peddle bogus [energy] statistics three days after the original error was pointed out by independent fact-checkers.”
But that didn’t stop editorial page editor Hiatt from running a piece by Palin filled with bogus information attacking climate action and clean energy action. And it didn’t stop Newt Gingrich from claiming in the clip above, “Her knowledge of the energy issue is very real.”
Boxer and Kerry respond to her rhetorical bomb-throwing and lack of knowledge of the issues:
Palin argues that “the answer doesn’t lie in making energy scarcer and more expensive!” The truth is, clean energy legislation doesn’t make energy scarcer or more expensive; it works to find alternative solutions to our costly dependence on foreign oil and provides powerful incentives to pursue cutting-edge clean energy technologies.
Palin asserts that job losses are “certain.” Wrong. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and American Clean Energy and Security legislation will create significant employment opportunities across the country in a broad array of sectors linked to the clean energy economy. Studies at the federal level and by states have demonstrated clean energy job creation. A report by the Center for American Progress calculated that $150 billion in clean energy investments would create more than 1.7 million domestic and community-based jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.
Palin seems nostalgic for the campaign rally chant of “drill, baby, drill.” But she ignores the fact that the United States has only 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, while we are responsible for 25 percent of the world’s oil consumption.
In fact, the governor’s new refrain against global warming action reminds us of every naysayer who has spoken out against progress in cleaning up pollution….
Well, Palin isn’t like every other pro-pollution naysayer — surely she’s the only one ever to voluntarily quit the governorship of a state halfway through her term.
Take the acid rain program established in the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. The naysayers said it would cost consumers billions in higher electricity rates, but electricity rates declined an average of 19 percent from 1990 to 2006. Naysayers said the cost to business would be more than $50 billion a year, but health and other benefits outweighed the costs 40 to 1. Naysayers predicted it would cost the economy millions of jobs. In fact, the United States added 20 million jobs from 1993 to 2000, as the U.S. economy grew 64 percent.
The carefully crafted clean energy bill that we will present to the Senate, building on the Waxman-Markey legislation passed by the House, will jump-start our economy, protect consumers, stop the ravages of unchecked global climate change and ensure that the United States — not China or India — will be the leading economic power in this century.
By creating powerful incentives for clean energy, it will create millions of jobs in America — building wind turbines, installing solar panels on homes and producing a new fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles.
It will also help make America more secure. A May report by retired U.S. generals and admirals found, “Our dependence on foreign oil reduces our international leverage, places our troops in dangerous global regions, funds nations and individuals who wish us harm, and weakens our economy; our dependency and inefficient use of oil also puts our troops at risk.”
We do not charge that Palin wants to keep sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas annually to import oil from countries that, in many cases, are working to harm Americans and American interests around the world — or that she wants another nation to lead the way to the innovative clean energy solutions that will be eagerly gobbled up by the rest of the world. But those would be the tragic results of the do-nothing policies she has espoused. Our nation’s approach to energy must be balanced and must provide incentives for all the available clean energy sources to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Palin has proven she is unfit — and unwilling — to govern a single state.
That said, I applaud her taking position of leadership in the climate and clean energy debate — one always wishes for the lamest of opponents. So Gingrich’s endorsement of her is especially timely.
Here is more from Think Progress on Gingrich’s remarks:
At a National Press Club event on Wednesday, a questioner asked Newt Gingrich — head of a corporate-funded group American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF) — whether or not he would consider “running with” Sarah Palin in 2012. Gingrich demurred on 2012, but the former House Speaker went on to praise the soon-to-be-former Governor of Alaska as a future conservative leader on energy issues:
GINGRICH: “Her knowledge of the energy issue is very real. And if you do start to see energy prices go back up I think there will be a pretty big interest in what she has to say about how we can use American energy — keep the money here in America and the fact that bowing to a Saudi king is not a substitute for energy policy.”
Following Palin’s July 3rd resignation announcement, Bill Kristol speculated that she was resigning because she had “probably accomplished most of what she was going to get done as governor,” which begs the question: what does Palin seek to accomplish in her post-gubernatorial career? Between Gingrich’s recent hints, the six mentions of energy in her resignation announcement, and her recent hackneyed op-ed on cap-and-trade in the Washington Post, Republicans may be moving to position Palin as their new leading voice on energy.