Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin's Pipeline in the Sky

Do you remember Palin's pep rally at the RNC? Remember the self-congratulatory part of her speech when she bragged about the natural gas pipeline that she's made so much progress with? Here's a reminder:

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-dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

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.

As it turns out, there's a little more to the story - and a little less to the pipeline. A NYT article, surely to be dismissed by Palin's supporters, outlines the actual progress of Palin's pipe.

Here's just some of the fun:

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.

On those in Palin's camp...
Of the Palin aides familiar with TransCanada from those earlier negotiations, Ms. Rutherford had an unusually close connection. For 10 months in 2003, she was a partner in a consulting and lobbying firm whose clients included Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd., a subsidiary of TransCanada.

Ms. Rutherford said in an interview that after TransCanada submitted its pipeline proposal to the Palin administration, she and the governor never discussed whether her role on the team might be viewed as improper or give the appearance of a conflict of interest.

On progress...
Under the most optimistic circumstances, dirt is not expected to be turned for years. TransCanada’s plan calls for it to file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the end of 2011, and to have the pipeline operational by late 2018. The company is not obligated to proceed with the project even if it clears all the financial and regulatory hurdles.

So, that's it. Palin's greatest professional accomplishment and its really nothing more than a blueprint that's been around since the Carter administration.

But on the bright side - Palin's supporters will never have to know about any of this because it's written in a newspaper using words... eh, fuck 'em all.


Kup said...

Pass the Prozac...

Randal Graves said...

But when the pipe IS built, just think how warm it'll be! Much easier to knock off the caribou. Mmm, burgers....