Palin Touts ‘Flawed’ Pipeline Process As ‘Free Market Competition’

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"Palin Touts ‘Flawed’ Pipeline Process As ‘Free Market Competition’"

This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) delivered her second policy speech of the entire campaign, on energy — a fitting topic, considering Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) considers her to be America’s foremost energy expert. Along with praising coal and expanded drilling, Palin touted her own experience in achieving “progress” on a natural gas pipeline in Alaska, claiming she “introduced” “free-market competition” to Big Oil:

[Oil companies] should have been competing to invest in a new means of delivering their product to market. They should have been competing for the right to tap into the hungry markets, flowing our resources into those hungry markets, and instead they wanted a higher and higher price than any fair competition would yield. So they wouldn’t build the line. […]

So we introduced, when I got elected, we introduced the big oil companies and their lobbyists to a concept of something that evidently they had forgotten, and that’s free-market competition. They had a monopoly previously on power and resources, and we broke it.

Watch it:

Hardly using a free market approach, Palin’s “flawed bidding process” actually “narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration,” according to an AP investigation:

Despite Palin’s boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp. […]

Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group — the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas. […]

— Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.

“Most definitely TransCanada got a sweetheart deal this time,” Republican state senator Bert Stedman said.

Throughout the campaign, Palin and McCain have boasted that Palin “was responsible for…a pipeline, the $40 billion pipeline bringing natural gas from Alaska down to the lower 48.” Neither seems to care that the pipeline “exists only on paper;” construction on the first section has not even begun. In fact, despite the $500 million award, TransCanada is not even obligated to build the pipeline.

Transcript:

Ever since I grew up I remember hearing about this dream for a natural gas pipeline. But all it was was talk.
And one of the main obstacles was big oil itself that wanted a pipeline, a gas pipeline even, to be built only on their terms. ExxonMobil was one of the participants in that, and other companies also.

They should have been competing to invest in a new means of delivering their product to market. They should have been competing for the right to tap into the hungry markets flowing our resources into those hungry markets, and instead they wanted a higher and higher price than any fair competition would yield. So they wouldn’t build the line. They were holding out for more billions of dollars in public money. No one in good conscience could pay them what they wanted to build that gas line. And that’s how things were left, that’s how we found them, when I decided to run for governor. There was no progress, no pipeline, no gas revenue for Alaska, no added energy security for America because previously it had been all talk.

So we introduced, when I got elected, we introduced the big oil companies and their lobbyists to a concept of something that evidently they had forgotten, and that’s free-market competition. They had a monopoly previously on power and resources, and we broke it. And the result finally is progress on the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North America’s history — a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

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