In a surprise move this morning, John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin, a conservative Republican, was the ethics commissioner of the Alaska Gas and Oil Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004 and has a reputation for integrity and fighting corruption. She has pushed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope, and earlier this year she sued the Interior Department over its decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species. Palin recently proposed eliminating Alaska’s gas tax and got the state legislature to pass a bill to provide each Alaskan $1,200 to help with energy bills. She also recently opposed a statewide ballot initiative to prohibit or restrict new mining operations that could affect salmon in the state’s streams and rivers, even though she’s an avid angler and hunter herself. She 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. But that doesn’t mean she has any sort of beef with Big Oil (in fact, her husband is an oil production operator for BP on Alaska’s North Slope). She said earlier this week, “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.”

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