UPDATE: ConocoPhillips' gasline bid has been rejected for not meeting AGIA requirements. However, five other bids have been submitted, all from companies who would not have been allowed to bid before Gov. Palin passed AGIA. By allowing free-market competition, the Governor proved that there are, in fact, many companies who are willing to build a pipeline, not just the "Big Three"....and I'm guessing that they will do it without trying to pressure the state to change its plan. Way to go, Governor!
Those who have read this blog for a long time may remember the battle earlier this year over Governor Palin's Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), a plan to build a natural gas pipeline across Alaska. Of course, AGIA passed, but many still raised doubts. At the time, Alaska's "Big Three" oil producers (BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips) objected to the bill's reversal of former Governor Frank Murkowski's policy that only those three companies would be allowed to bid on the project, as well as requirements that the new pipeline have drop-off points within Alaska and hire Alaskan workers. Hence, there were doubts as to whether any of the Big Three would submit bids.
Those doubts are now gone. Today was the last day for companies to file bids, and ConocoPhillips has submitted a proposal to Governor Palin. With one of the Big Three now in on the bidding process, and encouraging the other two to get in on the project, I think it is safe to say that AGIA is a success. This just goes to show that a free-market process is every bit as economically viable as the non-market plan pursued by the Murkowski administration. Furthermore, it ensures that Alaskans will be able to use their own natural gas without having to re-import it from the lower 48 (a problem created by the Murkowski plan, which sent the pipeline through Canada rather than Alaska.)
The building of a gasline has been a major issue in Alaska for years, but Sarah Palin has made major progress on it in just less than one year in office! Decisive, effective leaders like Sarah Palin are few and far between, and they are desperately needed in the political cesspool of Washington, D.C. Yet another reason why Sarah Palin needs to be on the Republican ticket in 2008.