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Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard

Posted: September 4, 2008 09:03 AM

Palin's Acceptance Speech Bullish On Energy


grist.org

Sarah Palin's much-anticipated VP acceptance speech on Wednesday night included a lot of energy talk -- and extensive criticism of Barack Obama.

"We are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and a servant's heart," she said. "I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States. This was the spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau ... when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol' boys network."

Palin emphasized her call to expand domestic drilling, and called for more nuclear, "clean coal," and renewables.

"Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems -- as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all," she said. "Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines and build more nuclear plants and create jobs with clean coal and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers."

She talked up her moves as governor to suspend the state fuel tax, and said she "championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress." She also repeated the line from her introduction speech last Friday about the "Bridge to Nowhere" -- "I told the Congress 'thanks, but no thanks,' for that Bridge to Nowhere" -- a claim that has been since disputed. Palin was actually for the bridge before she was against it.

"If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves," she said in tonight's speech. Actually, the state still got the federal money, and they're using millions of dollars from that pork to build a road meant to link up with said bridge that doesn't yet exist.

She also talked up the tax she imposed on the oil industry in her state. "When oil and gas prices went up dramatically, and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged -- directly to the people of Alaska," she said. "And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources."

She talked about the natural-gas pipeline she has pushed for as governor and her call for increased drilling, both of which she asserted will bring the country closer to energy independence.

"I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural-gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence," she said. "That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart."

She continued on the topic of energy security, delving more into the issue than any other speaker so far at this convention.

"When a hurricane strikes in the Gulf of Mexico, this country should not be so dependent on imported oil that we are forced to draw from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And families cannot throw away more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil," she continued. "With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers."

"To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries, we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas," she said. "And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we've got lots of both."

And later in the speech, "What does [Obama] actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? ... American needs more energy -- our opponent is against producing it."