Sarah Palin: A Champion For Big Oil

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"Sarah Palin: A Champion For Big Oil"

Our guest bloggers are Daniel J. Weiss, a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and James Kvaal, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

sarah.jpgWith the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not backing down from oil drilling. Palin is a champion for drilling, the Bush-Cheney approach to energy policy that brought us $4.00-per-gallon gasoline and the rising threat of global warming.

Like McCain, Palin believes that oil drilling is the only solution to our energy problems. “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem,” she says. She supports more drilling in protected areas of the Outer Continental Shelf and the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge, once attacking McCain for his “close-mindedness on ANWR.”

But the Department of Energy believes that offshore drilling “would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.” Moreover, about three-quarters of all the oil in public lands in the continental U.S. are already open to drilling – and yet only one quarter of this oil is under production. Opening the Arctic Refuge would cut gasoline prices by two cents in 17 years. For that, Palin would destroy the home of America’s native polar bears. Not even T. Boone Pickens still thinks we can drill our way out of this crisis.

Palin rejects clean renewable energy that is an alternative to oil. Earlier this month, she claimed that “alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop.”

Alaska has become the “poster state” for the threat of global warming as the climate gets hotter and dryer and sea levels rise. More than 100 towns are vulnerable due to eroding sea lines. Polar bears are threatened by the melting ice floas, and this month bears were spotted swimming as much as 50 miles offshore.

Nonetheless, like many other oil champions, Palin is skeptical of global warming. During her gubernatorial campaign, she said she was unconvinced about how much human emissions contribute to current global warming trends. Palin also opposes listing our polar bears as a threatened species because it could require action on climate change.

As Carl Pope of the Sierra Club says, “No one is closer to the oil industry than Governor Palin.” Sarah Palin has taken positions that would ensure a continuation of the Bush-Cheney energy policies. She supports drilling everywhere and ignores the need for binding reductions in global warming pollution even though her state is melting. The continuation of these policies will continue higher energy costs, more severe hurricanes and droughts, and despoiled natural treasures.

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