GREEN
09/29/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sarah Palin On The Environment

Grist reports that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin strongly opposes the Alaskan gas tax, threw money at Alaskans to quiet their concerns over rising energy costs, and "recently sued the Interior Department over its decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species."

Not a fan of the bears, the New York Times agrees.

The Times writes that the selection of Palin could help pacify Republicans who wish Sen. McCain would support drilling in ANWR:

But she differs with Mr. McCain on a controversial environment issue that centers on her home state: she supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. Mr. McCain's opposition to drilling -- even after he changed positions and began advocating for off-shore oil drilling -- has upset many Republicans.

CLIMATE CHANGE

At the same time, Palin raised the profile of climate change in Alaska about a year ago when she installed a climate change sub-cabinet:

On September 14, 2007, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin signed Administrative Order 238, establishing the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet. The sub-cabinet will consolidate the state's knowledge of climate change in order to recommend policies and measures to guide the state's mitigation and adaptation efforts. It includes the commissioners of the Departments of Commerce, Community and Economic Development; Natural Resources; Fish and Game; Transportation and Public Facilities; and Environmental Conservation (Chair). The Administrative Order also directs the group to consult with the president of the University of Alaska and explore ways to promote development of renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, hydroelectric, and tidal resources. Governor also signed a letter adding Alaska as an observer to the Western Climate Initiative.

NATURAL GAS IN ALASKA'S NORTH SLOPE

Palin passed into law a signature bill, called the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which dictates the way that the state accepted bids for its North Slope natural gas reserves. The bill would have passed unanimously but for one opposing vote:

Eventually it passed in May with a single "no" vote, that of House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage.

Samuels, considered to be one of the Legislature's most knowledgeable members on oil and gas issues, said he feared the bill would exclude the big oil companies and fail to produce enough qualified applicants to yield a capable licensee.

The pipeline may cost $20 billion or more.

"The fear is we do not (find qualified applicants) and we pick that sole applicant, and we pick the wrong applicant," Samuels said.

There was also some bristling at the bill's half-billion dollar subsidy for the winning bid:

One of the first parts of AGIA to get critical scrutiny was a plan for the state to contribute half a billion dollars to help the eventual winner of the state's license pay for early development efforts.

That contribution would later benefit the state by lowering shipping costs, the Palin administration said.

Oil companies testifying before the legislature suggested the money might simply help a financially unqualified company win the pipeline license and do the state more harm than good.