Sarah Palin can argue for energy development very effectively. She is immune from criticism for being a tool of Big Oil, a charge hurled at the GOP by the Democrats last week from the convention podium. Telis Demos of Fortune Magazine describes the way Governor Palin played hardball with the oil companies on behalf of the voters. Her predecessor had constructed a sweetheart deal for the oil companies to build a new natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48.
Early in her term, she shocked oil lobbyists when she was so bold as to not show up when Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson came to Juneau to meet with her. Palin, after scrapping Murkowski's deal, would not give Big Oil the terms they wanted, yet insisted that the companies still had an obligation under their lease to deliver gas to whatever pipeline Alaska built. She invited the oil companies to place open bids to build a pipeline, but they refused. A bid by TransCanada, North America's largest pipeline builder, was approved by the legislature in August.
Palin also raised taxes on oil companies after Murkowski's previous tax regime produced falling revenues in 2007, despite skyrocketing oil prices. Alaska now has some of the highest resource taxes in the world. Alaska's oil tax revenues are expected to be about $10 billion in 2008, twice those of previous year.
If Sarah Palin is tough enough to take on Big Oil as a rookie governor, does anyone doubt she will have a clear head about how to deal with Iran?
Hat tip: Cliff Thier