Though Alaska has a birth-defect rate twice the national average, and though exposure to industrial toxins has been strongly linked to birth defects, Gov. Sarah Palin has made little effort to keep industrial pollution at bay. To the contrary: Thanks to Palin’s nod, Alaska is home to the only coastal fishery in the U.S. where oil companies can dump toxic runoff. In Feb. 2008, her administration opposed a bill that would have increased the notice given to parents before schools were sprayed with pesticides, as well as a bill that would have banned PBDEs. In Aug. 2008, Palin opposed a measure that would have halted the controversial Pebble Mine, which critics fear may decimate the world’s largest commercial wild salmon fishery. She has neglected to push the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up a highly contaminated military base. “She doesn’t have a good understanding of the science,” says the former research director of the Alaska Native Medical Program. “What she tends to do is talk about personal responsibility as the key to good health.”