Setting the Record Straight

September 11, 2008

Palin’s Pipeline To, Not Here

Drill, Baby Drill; Then Export It

     As has become clear, the McCain/Palin campaign has decided to exceed the level of distortions and exaggerations that characterize many a political campaign and perpetrate outright lies its American Idolators are more than pleased to spread. We consider duplicity even worse.
     A natural gas pipeline, which would span Alaska and become the nation’s largest-ever infrastructure project, is being promoted as helping to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. At the same time the United States is about to export natural gas from Alaska, reducing U.S. supplies and driving up prices just as winter arrives.
     Sarah Palin speaks endlessly about how she stood up to big oil interests as Alaska’s governor. First, she stood up to them by negotiating more money for the state in a deal to build what she calls “a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.”
     She goes on, according to a
New York Times article, “That pipeline…will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.”
     At the same time, the Interior Department reveals a string of sex, lies and audio tapes involved in Alaska oil and gas deals with the oil industry and the federal employees handling the deals.
     The Times piece cited above is about the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline being only that, a proposal that has so many hoops to go through it might never be built.
     The Palin quotes are part of the political practice of distortion and exaggerations the John McCain campaign has decided to take to a higher level. The duplicity is the claim the pipeline would “help lead America to energy independence.”
     The gas pipeline is just one of the elements in the Republican “drill baby, drill” campaign to open up more public land to the oil industry that is not yet active on many other permits it already has to drill on public lands.
     The drilling campaign is being sold as a way to deal with the current energy crisis that is affecting not only the United States, but also the economy of the entire world.
     The Bush administration is pushing for more drilling, Repub- licans in Congress are pushing for more drilling, but the Democratic majority in the House balked, and rightfully so. The move would have absolutely no impact on today’s oil supply and wouldn’t for at least a score of years. It is nothing more than a ploy to open more land to drilling, in case the oil industry wants to take advantage of it some time in the future.
     Now comes the revelation by Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a senator much more “maverick” than McCain could hope to be, that the Energy Department recently approved plans for ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil to ship abroad 2.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas already being pumped out of Alaska. The amount is the equivalent of the average annual use of 1.4 million American families, Wyden says. He could be exaggerating when he says that, but he notes that Americans already are projected to pay an average of 22 percent more for natural gas this winter than the paid last year.
     The duplicity certainly is real.
     At a time we have our own domestic-energy shortage, the lame-duck Republican administration in one last gasp cleared a deal for the oil industry to export precious natural gas to Japan and other nations in the Pacific Rim.
     Do we need to drill for more oil or don’t we? Are we going to reduce our dependence on foreign energy or not? Do we have the interests of U.S. citizens at heart or do we not? Do John McCain and Sarah Palin tell us the truth, or do they not? But most importantly, are they the candidates more likely to change this practice or are they not?



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