Palin Isn’t An Energy Expert — She Doesn’t Even Understand Oil

PalinGov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is being touted on the national stage as an “energy expert” by conservatives because she hails from a petro-state:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C.” [AP, 9/3/08]

Rep. Don Young (R-AK): “Governor Palin’s knowledge of energy issues will be critical as she and Sen. McCain begin their path toward the White House.” [Juneau Empire, 8/31/08]

George Pataki (R-NY): “Governor Palin is, I think, an energy expert.” [ThinkProgress, 9/1/08]

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS): “She’s a bonafide expert on one of the major issues of this campaign, and that’s energy.” [FOX News, 9/1/08]

Larry Kudlow, CNBC: “Coming from the natural-resource rich state of Alaska, Palin is an experienced energy expert. She knows more about the economics of energy than senators McCain, Obama, or Biden.” [National Review, 9/3/08]

John McCormack, Weekly Standard: “Palin’s energy expertise could be a huge boon for McCain politically.” [Weekly Standard, 9/3/08]

Maria Bartiromo, CNBC: “I think the biggest value she brings to the ticket is her expertise in energy.” [Meet the Press, 8/31/08]

Let’s set the record straight. Following Frank Luntz’s advice, the right wing is deliberately confusing “energy” with “oil.” Alaska — like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria — is a state whose economy is almost entirely dependent on its oil and gas industry. Like foreign petrostates, Alaska is awash with corruption, dependent on federal subsidies and payments from Big Oil to pay for public services. Palin only has experience with oil and gas production. The right wing’s drill-drill-drill obsession makes sense for BP and its employees, like Palin’s husband, but not for America. As Matt Yglesias described:

What for most of the world is the “problem” of sky-high energy prices is the solution for places like Alaska and Russia that don’t have real economies but are seeing prosperity anyway thanks to skyrocketing oil and gas prices.

Palin’s real expertise, as Joe Romm noted, is in delivering the pork, with a “staggering $4000 per person in federal earmarks to her tiny town in a span of four years as mayor.”

The world is in a state of crisis because of what happens next. The burning of fossil fuels is destabilizing our planet, economically, militarily, and environmentally. But Palin has granted absolution to man for this planetary destruction, saying of global warming:

I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.

Gov. Palin is not an energy expert — she only knows about oil and gas production. She’s not an expert on renewable energy, energy efficiency, or even coal or nuclear power. But she doesn’t even understand oil. Like other Exxon-Bush conservatives and oil-fueled fundamentalists, she evidently doesn’t care what happens after the land is drilled, the wildlife killed, and Big Oil’s coffers are filled.

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