POLITICS
10/12/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Palin's Big Accomplishment: Pipeline That May Never Get Built

When Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska took center stage at the Republican convention last week, she sought to burnish her executive credentials by telling how she had engineered the deal that jump-started a long-delayed gas pipeline project.

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The reality, however, is far more ambiguous than the impression Ms. Palin has left at the convention and on the campaign trail.

Certainly she proved effective in attracting developers to a project that has eluded Alaska governors for three decades. But an examination of the pipeline project also found that Ms. Palin has overstated both the progress that has been made and the certainty of success.

The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years away and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade. In fact, although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin's relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built, and under a worst-case scenario, the state could lose up to $500 million it committed to defray regulatory and other costs.

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