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Sarah Palin spoke this weekend at the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas, a small town in East Texas. She was introduced at the event by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who referred to half-term-ex-Governor Palin as one of the “great Americans of our time.” Certainly Perry and Palin have many things in common, not the least of which is a total lack of respect for the truth.
Consider the similarity in the willingness of Palin and Perry to lie. While many examples of the lies of Palin have filled pages of this blog for months, I have worked hard to limit my comments to Palin. I have intentionally refrained from sharing my feelings about Rick Perry. Perry’s description of Palin at the Tyler event has come close to putting me into a coma. My doctor has indicated that the only potentially therapeutic treatment for my condition is to write. Thus I ask you to consider the similarities between Palin and Perry:
1. Both Have Been On the Cover of Newsweek Magazine
Palin: “Saint Sarah” graced the cover in June.
Perry: Perry was featured with the title “Don’t Mess with Texas”.
2. Both Claim to be “Fiscal Conservatives”
Palin: Palin has described herself as a “fiscal conservative”. Palin said she was opposed to federal earmarks for Alaska, but she hired a lobbyist for Wasilla and received millions of dollars in federal funding. Palin said she opposed to the Bridge to Nowhere, but she originally favored it. She said she opposed to earmarks, but the truth is that she accepted millions of dollars to study the genetics of harbor seals and the mating habits of crabs.
Perry: Before Palin quit her job as Governor of Alaska, she endorsed Rick Perry. Palin described Perry as a “true conservative”. She cited one of Perry’s top campaign issues as his opposition to federal financial bailouts. The truth is that Texas, under Perry’s fiscal conservative leadership, has accepted $16 billion in federal stimulus funds. The state of Texas is in the throws of a financial crisis, with approximately $18 billion in debt. Given the financial crisis in Texas, and given the identification of the financial crisis as a “top issue”, one would expect the Governor to be devoting extra time to his job, and to solving the financial problems of the state. In 21 weeks of work, Perry enjoyed 16 long weekends and worked an average of seven hours per week. Do you think he has solved the financial crisis yet?
“How long will the folks in Washington keep spending money that they don’t have, for solutions they haven’t thought through, for problems they really don’t understand?” Perry asked.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the stimulus is the reason that Texas has a balanced budget. State debt has doubled during Perry’s term as Governor, but fortunately for him he has had time to write a book by the title, “Fed Up.” His publisher described the book as describing federal policies as a “legitimate threat to America’s continued leadership in the free world.”
Rick Perry, the true fiscal conservative, has spent taxpayer’s money for items including:
- Over $130,000 for parties, food, drinks and cable TV.
- At least $18,000 for “consumables” such as household supplies and cleaning products.
- A $1,000 “emergency repair” of the Governor’s filtered ice machine.
- A $700 clothes rack.
- A little over $70 for a two year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine (probably to give him ideas on throwing all of those lavish parties at our expense!).
- Maintenance on the heated pool has cost taxpayers at least $8,400.
- Grounds and lawn maintenance has topped $44,000.
- A 6,386-square-foot rental home located on three acres of land and which was advertised in 2007 for sale at $1.85 million. The Governor’s mansion only had 2,750 square feet.
- He has only one housekeeper, on full-time chef, one part-time chef, a mansion administrator, and a steward. The salary for these servants is $195,770.00.
3. Both SAY They Advocate Transparency in Government
Palin: Sarah Palin has explained the importance in making the financial matters of public record.
Perry: Perry also says he demands transparency in government, but ignored state law, and his own executive order, that required all state agencies to be “accountable and transparent.” It was the stimulus spending information that he conveniently failed to post. Perhaps “opaque” would have been a better choice of words for Rick Perry’s budget.
4. Both Sued the Federal Government on Environmental Matters
Palin: Before Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska she sued the Federal Government seeking to remove polar bears from the endangered species list.
Perry: Rick Perry sued the EPA over its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Both Shoot Animals for Pleasure
Palin: Palin and her parents have a long history of killing animals. Both Palin and her parents surround themselves with proof of the animals they have killed.
Perry: Perry has been known to jog with a laser cited pistol, and shoot animals during his morning run. Even Fox “News” reporters found this story a little frightening.
6. Both Have Been Associated with Seceding from the U.S.
Palin: Todd, Sarah husband, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party for 6 years. The primary focus of the party was secession from the United States. The Alaska Independence Party was founded by the “rabidly violent” anti-American Joe Vogler, who is quoted as saying, “I’m an Alaskan, not an American.” “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions,” Palin herself provided the opening remarks to the Alaskan Independent Party Convention of 2008, saying:
“I am delighted to welcome you to the 2008 Alaskan Independence Party Convention….I share your party’s vision of upholding the Constitution of the State…Your Party plays an important role in the State’s Politics… We have a great promise to be a self-sufficient state…Keep up the good work, and God Bless You.”
Perry: Rick Perry made national headlines when he said:
“We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
7. Both Sound More Like Preachers than Politicians
Palin: Of course Palin is no longer a politician. In an interview she was asked:
“Do you think the mainstream media and the left understands your religious faith, Governor Palin?” Her answer: “I think that there’s a lot of mocking of my personal faith,” she said. “And my personal faith is very, very simple. I don’t belong to any church”.
Palin has repeatedly advocated prayer as a solution to the countries many challenges. Her solution is to seek divine intervention. In religious gatherings she has asked the congregation to pray that the war in Iraq is “God’s plan”, and she has asked the congregants to pray for a $30 billion national gas pipeline. Sometimes with Palin it’s hard to remember if you are in a prayer meeting or a legislative session.
Perry: Perry has been compared to a “tent revival preacher.” Perry has said:
“We are in a struggle for the heart and soul of our nation…Do we believe in the primacy of an unrestrained federal government? Or do we worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in his eternal, natural laws, and defending his children?”
8. Both Are In Bed With BP
Palin: In spite of the many examples of the violations of safety standards by BP in Alaska, Palin has blamed the environmentalists for the Gulf Oil spill. In her Facebook post Palin made reference to the “extreme greenies,” and used the BP spill as a reason to justify drilling in ANWR.
Palin’s history with BP is extensive. Of course her husband worked 18 years for BP. As early as 1995 Palin was aware that BP admitted to felony charges for environmental crimes on the North Slope (Palin 95). She was also aware that BP had actually injected illegal and hazardous substances into wells to save money (95). Palin’s history of knowledge of the atrocities committed by BP is long and colorful.
Before resigning as Governor, Palin admits that she knew:
“…that BP had been trying to save money for years by cutting corners on oil pipeline maintenance on the North Slope. This was very serious: leaks and spills from corroded pipelines were all too common and harmed the environment…” (153).
The largest land spill in the country occurred at the BP Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska, in 2006. An estimated 212,252 gallons of oil leaked from a BP Oil Transit Line. Even today the consequences of that spill still linger. Palin was sworn in as Governor in December of 2006. Thus not only was she aware of BP’s history of conscious indifference to safety regulations, but she was Governor during the time of the clean up, and the suit by the EPA. In March of 2009, before resigning as Governor, the EPA sued BP for a string of violations related to the spills in Alaska. The EPA alleged federal violations related to numerous problems with BP’s operational practices at Prudhoe Bay. That suit, seeking tens of millions of dollars, alleged that the company failed to implement an acceptable spill-prevention and control plan and was delinquent in repairing pipelines which they were under federal orders to fix.
Perry: Perry has suggested that the Gulf Oil disaster was:
“…just an act of God that occurred… From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”
Perry’s first instinct after the explosion was not to blame people responsible, but to indicate it must have been an act of God. Rick Perry went on to say that BP has “historically had a very good safety record from my perspective.” He must have just forgotten about the largest explosion in the state of Texas, which occurred in 2005, during the time he was Governor. The families of the 15 people killed and the 170 people injured in that explosion probably wouldn’t describe the safety record of BP as “very good”.
The Texas refinery was one of two BP refineries that accounted for 97% of all “flagrant” violations in the U.S. refining industry. Not only was BP responsible for virtually ALL of the refinery violations in the country, but most of the violations cited were classified as “egregious willful,” according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records.
Here’s a look at how those violations breakdown:
- 760 egregious willful
- 69 willful
- 30 serious
- 3 unclassified
Most violations came, according to the Center for Public Integrity, because BP failed to fix the problems identified as the cause of the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. “The only thing you can conclude is that BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company,” Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, told the Center for Public Integrity.
As if the explosion and the people killed or injured, on the day of the Texas City tragedy were not sufficient to get Governor Perry’s attention, OSHA imposed the largest fine in history against BP as a result of its many failures at the Texas City plant. In October 2009, just six months before the Gulf Oil explosion on the Deep Water Horizon well, OSHA imposed a record $87 million fine against BP for lack of compliance with safety regulations, and for failure to make agreed-upon improvements at its Texas City refinery. The US Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, reported that during 17 inspections since the explosions four years ago, OSHA found 270 cases where BP failed to comply with changes; BP had previously agreed to make. Additionally OSHA found 439 “willful” violations involving pressure release systems on units at the Texas City refinery.
“The fact that there are so many still outstanding, life-threatening problems at this plant indicates that they still have a systemic safety problem in this refinery,” Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said.
If Perry didn’t know about the safety record of BP, then he was grossly negligent. If he knew, then he lied when he indicated the BP had a “very good” safety record. Consider these facts to help you assess whether you think he was consciously indifferent, or that he lied:
1. BP donated $250,000 to restoration of the Governor’s mansion. When Rick Perry needed to raise money to restore the Governor’s Mansion after a major fire, he turned to his friends at BP. According to the Austin American-Statesman, “The largest donation is $250,000 from energy giant BP America.” (Source: Austin American-Statesman, January 30, 2009)
2. Perry paid BP for jobs already in Texas. Perry gave BP $750,000 to create 150 jobs in League City, Texas. It was soon revealed that, “50 already work for BP and live in the area.” One expert called it, “a classic case of getting paid for doing what you’re going to do anyway.” (The Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2005)
3. Perry has been widely criticized for his Texas Enterprise Fund after a report revealed that almost half of the companies that received taxpayer dollars have, “failed or struggled to meet job goals.” The companies, including key player in the subprime mortgage market Countrywide Home Loans, have been given a total of $363 million taxpayer dollars. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, January 28, 2010)
If you still have any doubt about whether Rick Perry truly thought BP had a “very good safety record”, please watch this two minute video.
Of all the people who are, or have been, politicians, can you think of anyone who would have been in a better position to anticipate the worst environmental disaster in the history of our country than Palin and Perry?
9. Both Are Losing Popularity
Palin: By the time Palin resigned as Governor, her popularity had declined from an 89% approval rating to 54%.
Perry: Rick Perry is an unusually weak incumbent, and his opponent, Bill White is an unusually strong challenger. Only 36% of voters in Texas approve of Perry and 49% disapprove. Independent voters are particularly dissatisfied with Perry, with 55% indicating he is doing a poor job. White meanwhile is better known and better liked than most challengers running across the country this year. Thirty-seven percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him compared to 25% with an unfavorable one, and he posts positive numbers with independents at a 35/24 spread.
There is one difference between Perry and Palin. Palin resigned as Governor, and Perry is still the Governor. Surely if people know the facts, we won’t re-elect Perry. Please help me make people aware of all the facts, about both Palin and Perry.
The national press has focused significant attention on Sarah Palin’s recent interview with Bill O’Reilly relating to energy and the BP oil spill. For two days the postings on this blog have focused on Palin’s absurd suggestion that the solution to the BP spill was to build dikes to contain the oil. However little or no attention has been focused on Palin’s suggestion that President Obama should adopt a “three-legged-stool” approach to energy. The first couple of times I listened to the interview I dismissed her comments as just a new kind of word salad she was serving up. Upon reflection her reference to the “three legged stool” approach to the energy crisis may constitute yet another example of the “Maiden of Misinformation” attempting to create the impression that she is something that she is not, and knows something about which she speaks.
In Going Rogue, Palin outlined her “three-legged stool” approach at an energy conference in Texas, holding out Alaska as an example of a state that was meeting the energy needs of the country (Palin 194). The three legs of the stool were: (1) conservation, (2) responsible development, and (3) renewable energy sources. It was this same metaphor that Palin used in her interview with Bill O’Reilly. For a minute forget Palin’s absurd solution to the Gulf oil spill, forget Palin’s total absence of any education regarding energy, and disregard Palin’s resignation from the Alaska Oil & Gas Commission after less than even one year of service. Consider the stool upon which Palin sits.
During the limited time Palin served as Governor, she fired the entire Board of Agriculture and Conservation.
In June of 2009, before Palin’s resignation, the United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the case of Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. This was a suit brought by environmental groups citing the Clean Water Act as the basis for objection to dumping of 4.5 million tons of pollutants into the Lower Slate Lake, located 3 miles away from the Tongass National Forest. Sarah Palin “welcomed the ruling calling it a green light for responsible resource development.” Environmental groups voiced strong objection to the dumping indicating that the material dumped included aluminum, lead and mercury. The only conclusion is that Palin views dumping of 4.5 million tons of pollutants as “responsible resource development”.
President Jimmy Carter established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) setting aside 28% of Alaska as wilderness.
Palin supports drilling in ANWR.
Palin favored lifting a moratorium on offshore drilling.
Palin opposed protections for salmon from mining contamination.
Palin filed suit against the US government to stop listing polar bears as endangered.
Palin offered a bounty of $150.00 for each left front leg of a freshly killed wolf.
Palin used $400,000 of state money to fund a propaganda campaign in support of aerial hunting.
Palin believes man-made global warming is a farce.
Palin is a champion for big oil, suggesting that we should “drill, baby, drill!”
The most compelling information regarding Palin’s approach to “Responsible Development” can be found by reading information set forth in an entire web site: http://www.finebergresearch.com/.
Richard A. Fineberg is a freelance investigative journalist specializing in issues related to petroleum development. He lives in Ester, Alaska and writes articles for such journals as Petroleum News, reports for the U.S. Congress and the Alaska State Legislature, and for environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, and others. Mr. Fineberg was an oil and gas analyst who consulted with Palin’s administration during 2007 and 2008. . Feinberg is quoted as saying:
“Based on my first-hand experience, I can tell you that Sarah Palin is misinforming the public on ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share-one of three pieces of legislation for which she takes credit.)-as she does on many other issues”.
The number of “accidents” and “spills” in Alaska is a clear indication of Palin’s total failure of “responsible development”. On Dec. 23, a tugboat hit the Bligh Reef (the same reef Exxon Valdez hit 20 yrs ago); on Nov. 28 there was a spill at a refinery in the town of North Pole; and on Nov. 29th, there was a large spill on the North Slope. The risk of environmental damage in Alaska is not only real, but it has happened in the last few months. As long as people believe what Palin says, instead of considering what she has actually done, the risk of damage to our country is not only predictable, but happening daily in Alaska.
However the most offensive example of Palin’s total lack of concern about “responsible development” is illustrated by the incidence of birth defects in Alaska. Alaska has a birth defect rate that is TWICE the national average. Over the last 20 years, scientists have proved that exposure to some metals and chemicals cause birth defects and permanent developmental disorders. In Alaska toxic byproducts of mining and energy development, such as arsenic, mercury, and lead are particular problems. Alaskan natives, such as the Inuit people, eat a diet that is heavy in fish, seals, and whales which are all more likely to be contaminated by high doses of PCBs and mercury. Moreover, the North Slope, the location of the largest oil production in Alaska, and coincidentally the place where Todd Palin worked, has the highest prevalence of birth defects in the state, 11% compared to 6% in Alaska as a whole, and 3% nationwide. Given Sarah Palin’s position on abortion, and her “special needs” son, we would anticipate that Palin would be a strong advocate for “responsible development”. Sadly she is not!
Renewable Energy Sources:
Alaska ranks second in the nation in crude oil production if offshore oil production is not considered. The Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope is the highest yielding oil field in the United States, producing 264,000 barrels per day. Alaska’s electricity infrastructure differs from the lower 48 States in that most consumers are not linked to large interconnected grids through transmission and distribution lines. Rural communities rely primarily on diesel electric generators for power. Alaska has no energy from nuclear sources. Alaska has no ethanol plants and only 0.3% of the alternative-fueled vehicles in use in the United States.
Palin promotes herself as the savior of America’s energy security through “responsible development” (Palin 194). Whether through building dikes, killing wildlife, promoting the dumping of toxic waste, or overlooking the devastating effects of toxic spills and environmental disasters, Sarah Palin is herself an environmental disaster. The incontrovertible conclusion is that Palin’s stool is irreparably broken. Either she doesn’t realize the stool is broken, or she doesn’t mind sitting in the midst of the toxic waste.
In a Facebook post on June 8th, Sarah Palin wrote, “As a CEO, it was my job to look out for the interests of Alaskans with the same intensity and action as the oil company CEO’s looked out for the interest of their shareholders”. Palin’s Facebook post is misleading as she was never CEO of anything. However we might agree that her actions were comparable to those of British Petroleum. Statements of the half-term-ex-Governor in Going Rogue indicate that it was her goal to align the interests of the citizens of Alaska with those of oil companies, which included BP. She viewed the people of Alaska, in the same way BP views its shareholders. Palin takes credit for the Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) legislation. She explains that she and her “astute team of experts” take credit for aligning the interest of residents of Alaska with the BP shareholders (Palin 162-163). After calling a special session of the Alaska legislature, Palin and her team devised a system that allowed Alaska to share in the profits of the oil companies operating in Alaska. One year after Palin and the Alaska legislature approved the creation of the ACES program the state and oil companies, including British Petroleum, significantly increased their profits (164). Thus Palin was true to her word. She was motivated to increase the net profits of Alaska, just like BP was motivated to make as much money as it could. If BP made a lot of money, so did Alaska. The effect of ACES was to convert the position of the state from that of a royalty owner to a shareholder (164). Royalty owners do not bear the expense of production. so if BP engaged in dangerous, environmentally hazardous activity, the people of Alaska did not benefit. After Palin’s brilliant plan, if BP cut expenses by engaging in dangerous, environmentally hazardous activities, both BP and Alaska made money. If Alaska made money Palin looked like a hero.
Heroes are not usually quitters. Palin has experience quitting jobs where she was charged with protecting the public interest of the people of Alaska. Palin was appointed by Governor Murkowski in 2003 to serve as a Commissioner of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOCGG). She resigned that position in 2004, less than one year after she was appointed. There are conflicting reports by Palin about the reason for her resignation from the AOGCC. In Going Rogue, Palin explained that after “I prayed long and hard” she resigned from the AOGCC, suggesting that she could “effect change” from the outside (Palin 99). However Going Rogue is completely void of any reference to any attempt she made to “effect change” from the outside. Other sources quote Palin as explaining her reason for resignation from the AOGCC as it “…was more than I bargained for in terms of what the job is”.
Todd Palin worked on the North Slope of Alaska for British Petroleum for eighteen years. Recognizing a potential conflict of interest in 2007 before Sarah resigned as Governor, Todd took a voluntary leave from BP when it became involved in natural gas pipeline negotiations with the state of Alaska. At that time he was employed as a production supervisor. Seven months later, in spite of concerns regarding a conflict of interest, Todd returned to BP. Sarah explained, “I mean we’re still fairly young and we’ve got kids going into college. Some governors and their spouses, I’m sure are independently wealthy, but we’re not on of those couples.”
Former state Representative Ethan Berkowitz did not agree with Todd’s decision to return to work. Berkowitz explained, “It’s bad timing. It’s a tough situation for the family, but I think the interests of the state have to come first. In the interest of the state, you need to make sure you’re above the appearance of impropriety.”
Todd Palin continued to work for BP for two years, before abruptly announcing his decision to resign in September 2009. After 18 years of employment, Todd’s resignation occurred immediately after Sarah’s resignation. By July 26, 2009 Sean Parnell was sworn in as Governor. Within roughly one and one-half months after Sarah Palin left her position as Governor, Todd left BP. While Todd and Sarah were on the road to becoming independently wealthy, they hadn’t reached that destination yet. The kids were still not pursuing a college education. The pivotal point for Todd’s resignation seemed to be Sarah’s resignation as Governor.
From the moment Sarah Palin came to the attention of the national media, the only “policy” slogan we might associate with her, that was more specific than “common sense conservatism” was “drill-baby-drill.” Admittedly, Barack Obama advocated a more environmentally responsible program of energy development, with the clear goals of protecting the environment and working towards energy independence. Initially Obama was not in favor of additional off-shore drilling, but on March 31st he unveiled a plan to expand the U.S. coastal areas available for offshore drilling. Some might have expected Palin to have claimed victory. Some might have anticipated that Palin would have suggested that the President had learned something from her. Wrong! Instead Sarah complained that Obama’s plan was a “joke”.
Sarah’s new slogan became “stall-baby-stall”. Palin explained that she doesn’t like the President’s plan because there were going to be “studies” associated with the proposed plan for off-shore drilling. Palin explained:
- “As the former governor of one of America’s largest energy-producing states, a state oil and gas commissioner, and chair of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve seen plenty of such studies. What we need is action…Arctic exploration and development is a slow, demanding process. Delays or major restrictions in accessing these resources for environmentally responsible development are not in the national interest or the interests of the State of Alaska.”
Palin has been an outspoken advocate for less governmental influence in our lives. Maybe Palin intended her resignation to be an example of her commitment to that end.
Even though Palin resigned her positions as the Governor, and her position as the Oil & Gas Commissioner of Alaska and even though she hoped we had forgotten her mottoes of “drill-baby-drill”, and “stall-baby-stall” she now suggests that the government should somehow magically fix the spill in the Gulf. Her criticism of President Obama would suggest that he should be better equipped to determine the best way to cap a deep water leak than the “experts” who drilled the well. Palin has the gall to suggest that the President should call her for advice. Maybe if President Obama needed advice about killing animals, damaging the environment, causing the loss of life in oil field explosions, or resigning from his elected position he would call Palin. She seems to have expertise in each.
Between 1942 and 2010, Alaska experienced contamination of over 25,000 sites. During the time Palin was the head of the Oil & Gas Commission for Alaska and the Governor, Alaska faced several major oil spills. One of the largest was on the North Slope., which occurred in 2006. This spill in Prudhoe Bay resulted in an estimated 267,000 gallons of thick crude oil spilling out into the tundra of the North Slope. The North Slope is the place where Todd Palin worked for BP. I wonder if he got any oil on his lunch that day.
The Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline have caused an average of 409 spills annually. Since 1996 the Alaskan wilderness has been contaminated by over 1.9 million gallons of toxic substances on the North Slope alone. Over 22,000 acres of tundra, wetlands, floodplains, and other habitats have been directly lost due to oil production and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Investigations into the Prudhoe Bay spill uncovered many examples of a corporate philosophy that promoted ignoring repeated warning about corrosion and failure to comply with environmental standards. It was the workers on the pipelines and midlevel managers, like Todd Palin, who indicated that BP had a corporate philosophy that it was cheaper to disregard environmental standards than to pay for any expenses associated with an environmental disaster.
Devastation from oil spills in Alaska has had long lasting and expansive effects. Air pollution is just one major type of collateral damage. Prudhoe Bay air pollution has been detected almost 200 miles away in Barrow, Alaska. Annual emissions from the oil industry on the North Slope from nitrogen oxides are approximately 70,000 tons. To put this in perspective, that is more than twice the emissions of Washington D.C. In addition to nitrogen oxide, the North Slope oil facilities annually release large quantities of greenhouse gases, including 24,000 metric tons of methane and 7.3 to 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The irrefutable conclusion is that Sarah and Todd Palin were the Alaskan couple most likely to be aware of the total disregard by BP for environmental safety standards. Sarah Palin was in a position to mandate change, but she quit. The Gulf Oil Spill has sharpened our focus on the complete abandonment by Sarah Palin of any responsibility for the people of Alaska, or the citizens of the Gulf. The half-term-ex-Governor was empowered by the people of Alaska to protect them. She knew when she left her position as Governor that BP has a long history of engaging in cost saving measures at the expense of safety and the environment (Palin 95).
Palin wrote in Going Rogue that during her campaign for Governor:
- “…I’d tell voters there’s a lot riding on this election, including the trust of future generations. We need new energy and someone with a stiff spine to fight for you…I promised that if they hired me as their governor…I won’t let you down” (109).
I am sure the people of Alaska felt Palin “let them down” by her resignation. Senator Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska said, “I am deeply disappointed that the governor has decided to abandon the state and her constituents before her term has concluded”. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ed Rollins said that Palin’s resignation made her look, “terribly inept”. Converting the royalty payments owed by BP to Alaska, made possible by Palin’s “astute team of experts” may have rewarded BP’s practice of cutting corners at the expense of safety and the environment. “Terribly inept” may be too kind. Tragically irresponsible may be more accurate.
In 2009 the American Dental Association sued the Republican Party asserting that “drill baby drill” was a motto of the Dental Association, and had been wrongfully used by the Republican Party during the convention of 2008. Most of us didn’t hear “drill baby drill” from our dentist, but from Michael Steele and Rudy Giuliani at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Sarah Palin became associated with that phrase shortly after the RNC.
Palin, the astute intellectual that she is, memorized this phrase, “drill baby drill”, without even writing it on her hand. Repeatedly we heard her use this phrase in speeches given across the country. Yet, in spite of Palin’s advocacy of immediate drilling, it was incontrovertible that even if oil exploration and drilling began immediately in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it would be 10 years before the United States would realize any real benefit. Thus Palin’s only possible motivation was to incite crowds, instead of seeking real solutions for our future.
Palin professes expertise in the area of energy. She has cited her vast experience on the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission in Alaska, and the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission to establish the illusion that she is an expert. She suggests that she is an expert in all energy related matters, including energy generation, production, transmission, distribution, and political matters pertaining thereto. The truth is that Palin’s only real “energy experience” is experience with environmental disasters.
Palin resigned her position as Oil & Gas Commissioner after being in office less than one year. Palin explained that it “…was more than I bargained for in terms of what the job is.” If she were to run for President in 2012, I wonder if it would also be more than she “bargained for” and simply quit.
Between 1942 and 2010, Alaska experienced contamination of over 25,000 sites. During the time Palin was the head of the Oil & Gas Commission for Alaska and the Governor, Alaska faced several major oil spills. One of the largest was on the North Slope (yes, the same area where Todd worked for BP), which occurred in March of 2006. This spill in Prudhoe Bayfive days, when an oil field worker just happened upon it. This spill, coming from a pipeline, resulted in an estimated 267,000 gallons of thick crude oil along the North Slope wasn’t even discovered for spoiling the pristine tundra of Alaska.
The Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline have caused an average of 409 spills annually1.3 million gallons of crude4,532 spills, resulting in contamination of the Alaskan wilderness by over 1.9 million gallons of toxic substances. on the North Slope since 1996. Over spilled between 1996 and 1999. Over 22,000 acres of tundra wetlands, floodplains, and other habitats have been directly lost due to oil fields and Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Between 1996 and 2004 there were
Devastation from oil spills in Alaska has had long lasting and expansive effects. Air pollution is just one major type of collateral damage. Prudhoe Bay air pollution has been detected almost 200 miles away in Barrow Alaska. Annual emissions from the oil industry on the North Slope from nitrogen oxides are approximately 70,000 tons. To put this in perspective, that is more than twice the emissions of Washington D.C. In addition to nitrogen oxide, the North Slope oil facilities annually release large quantities of greenhouse gases, including 24,000 metric tons of methane and 7.3 to 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Given the vast experience of Palin and BP have had with spills, leaks, and explosions, we would expect that BP would change its dangerous method of operation. We would expect that Sarah Palin would have become a proponent for the protection of Alaska. Palin’s lack of concern for the Alaskan environment was a clear indication that money is her primary motivation. Consider the following:
In. Dec. 2002 a U.S. District Court found BP had not installed a leak detection system that could promptly detect the Prudhoe Bay spills, and failed to comply with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements. Criminal Probation was imposed.
In Nov. of 2002 BP was fined $675,000 for spill clean up problems associated with the Prudhoe Bay spill.
In Feb. 2000 a $22 million dollar fine was imposed against BP for its failure to implement new environmental management program.
In 2009 OSHA found more than 700 violations at the Texas City refinery. BP was fined $87.4 million dollars for these violations and for the explosion in Texas City in 2005. In that explosion, 15 people died and 170 were injured.
On March 31, 2010 President Obama announced that he was willing to consider additional offshore drilling, after further investigation into the potential risks and hazards of drilling. Even though Palin had first hand experience with the devastation that could be caused by improper oil drilling, she suggested that the President’s new program could be characterized as “stall baby stall”. Given her vast experience in the oil & gas industry, Palin indicated additional study was not necessary and we should move ahead as fast as possible.
The Gulf oil explosion and resulting spill began on April 24, 2010. Now on her Facebook, Palin blames environmentally inclined interests:
“Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests, and lawsuits, and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it….
Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.”
The Gulf spill is tragic to be sure. However it is NOT unprecedented. As Rachel Maddow explained that several years ago there was another spill in the Gulf Coast, which also coincided with a spill in Alaska. History repeats itself if we do nothing to learn from our past mistakes. Maddow highlighted the even greater problem that our technology has improved to facilitate even deeper drilling, but our knowledge relating to how to control the spill had not changed or improved in two or more decades.
To make matters worse Palin has suggested that the Obama administration is dragging its feet in the efforts to clean up the spill in the Gulf, because of his alignment with big oil. Of course the government has no expertise in oil & gas drilling or containment. Of course Palin is the person who has advocated less governmental “interference” in our lives. This is just one more painful example of the hypocrisy of Palin. When it serves her purpose Palin advocates less government, and when something bad happens it is the fault of the government, and government should fix the problem. Moreover, Obama has received substantially less in campaign contributions from big oil than Republicans. In fact, as of June 1, 2010, Republicans received 75% of all oil contributions. In addition, John McCain, for whom Palin is now involved in raising funds, received more than twice as much money as Obama from the oil and gas industries. Republicans have received $35.6 million in contributions from oil and gas concerns.
Contributions to Republicans by big oil companies have increased because of the Gulf oil spill. While Congressoil giant’s political action committee made 14 contributions during the month of May, according to a federal campaign report filed Wednesday — 13 to Republicans and one to a Democrat. It was the busiest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008. Of the 10 current members of Congress who got money from Halliburton in May, seven are on committees with oversight of the oil spill and its aftermath. investigates the role of Halliburton in the doomed Deep Horizon oil rig, Halliburton donated $17,000 to candidates running for federal office, giving money to several lawmakers on committees that have launched inquiries into the massive Gulf oil spill. The Texas-based
Halliburton’s political contributions in May are the highest they’ve been since September 2009. The last time the company gave this much money to a political campaign was during the presidential campaign of 2008, when it gave $25,000 in a single month.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that the motto of Palin is still “drill baby drill, given who her supporters are, and given the company that employed her husband.
Palin has taken the position that we should “drill baby drill” along with Michael Steele and Rudy Giuliani. This is her position irrespective of the thousands of spills in Alaska, and the multitude of people who have been killed in explosions. When additional drilling proved to be something President Obama was willing to consider, with careful study and after safeguards were in place, Palin complained that there was no need for careful study, and claimed that “stall baby stall” characterized this approach. Now that the Gulf oil spill has become the worst national disaster in our country’s history, Palin has to pick someone else to blame. The very people who warned us about this potential devastating disaster, and who had nothing to do with this blow out, are the environmentalists, who she now blames and characterizes as “radical environmentalists” in ANWR. When Palin questions the “true motives” of these “nonsensical radical environmentalists”, she causes us to be reminded of her motives. We know that she and the Republican Party have received huge amounts of money from the oil and gas industry, so their motives are as clear as the water used to be in the Gulf. The environmentalists rely upon donations from people who are concerned about the environment, so their motives are transparent.
The extent of the economic devastation caused by the Gulf oil disaster will likely exceed all expectations. However the economic impact may be capable of repair. The damage done to the environment may not be capable of repair. Species may become extinct, and habitat may be permanently destroyed. If the dinosaurs were alive today, BP and Palin would be enough to render them extinct. Few things we do in our lives leave a permanent mark on the earth. BP, and Palin through the lies she promotes, are creating permanent scars that even the best of plastic surgeons will not be able to repair.