Alaska Governor Sarah Palin: Palin’s Pipeline Politicking
October 8 2008 by Weld Royal
Shortly before being named the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke with Chief Executive magazine in an interview. She said the country “is long overdue for a woman in the White House and for having more of a maverick type who’s not beholden to any special interests”.
In August, Palin was fresh off political victory in
Ushered into office less than two years earlier after promising to root out corruption and push the gas pipeline, Palin had accomplished a milestone.
Lawmakers on the Last Frontier have talked about developing
Palin’s predecessor, Governor Frank Murkowski, also pushed for a gas line, and reached agreements with resource owners BP PLC, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips. State lawmakers believed it capitulated to the producers and blocked it.
Much of Palin’s success comes from good timing and good listening, believes Alaska Budget Report publisher Rebecca Braun. “Palin is a woman more created by the times than a woman who created the times”, she says. Without soaring commodity prices the gas pipeline would not generate the same attention.
Braun says the governor heard lawmakers’ concerns about the Murkowski plan and pushed another approach. Recognizing the power of the gas owners, Palin sought to increase the state’s leverage by adding an ally Trans Canada to its efforts.
For Palin’s plan to succeed, gas producers will have to agree to use the TransCanada pipeline. But two companies that own the gas BP and ConocoPhillips are developing a competing pipeline. Ken Boyd, an energy consultant and former
Without Big Oil’s cooperation,
Palin promises more force if producers balk at committing their gas to a viable gas line project. “If there would be a refusal when it’s very economical to develop the line, then we will go down a path that is stringent in reminding them they have a duty to develop the gas line and send the resource to very hungry markets”, she warns.
Meanwhile, TransCanada says it is moving forward with engineering, environmental reviews, aboriginal relations and commercial work on the pipeline.