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Saturday, March 31, 2007

What AGIA says about Governor Palin

As a blogger covering Sarah Palin, I would be remiss if I did not cover the "Alaska Gasline Inducement Act" (AGIA), a major piece of legislation to which she has staked her political reputation. This bill would launch the construction of a natural gas pipeline to deliver Alaskan gas to market in the lower 48 states, a pressing need for Alaska and arguably the most hotly debated issue in the state's politics. Now, as neither an Alaskan nor an expert in economics or energy policy, I will openly admit that I may not be the best qualified person to talk about this legislation. However, I think that I can offer a simple breakdown of the bill and offer an analysis of what it says about the Governor's ideology and philosophy of government.

So, here are the basics as I understand them:

1. The gasline would run from Prudhoe Bay in North Alaska to the southern port of Valdez, where it would be loaded on to tanker ships. This differs markedly from previous Gov. Frank Murkowski's plan, which called for a longer pipeline running out of Alaska and though Canada, connecting with an existing pipeline in Alberta, which then runs down into the lower 48 states. Click here for map.

2. The state would select a builder for the pipeline through a bidding process open to many companies, including oil producers, pipeline builders, and others. Again, this differs from the Murkowski plan, which only allowed negotiations with Alaska's "big three" oil producers (Exxon Mobil, BP, and Conoco Phillips).

3. Bidders would have to agree to various terms laid out in the bill to qualify. The terms include, among other things, that the gasline deliver gas to at least five points WITHIN Alaska, that the project would be headquartered in the state, and that the company must recruit Alaskans to work on the project (in return, the state pledges to ensure that qualified technicians are available to recruit).

4. The state would pitch in up to $500 million in matching funds as seed money to help the winning bidder get the gasline built. If you haven't already guessed, this is the most contentious aspect of the proposal.

5. Gas production taxes would be frozen for ten years for any producer using the line to transport their gas. Essentially giving companies and incentive to use the line by offering a tax break.

Okay, now down to brass tacks. I'm going to analyze this bill from perspective of ideology, meaning I want see if it's a good conservative proposal or not (and I think it is).

First, I want to address the $500 million in matching funds, because on the surface it look like a lot of spending. However, a more detailed look shows this to be a solid idea which conservatives could easily support. First, remember that this an investment rather than frivolous spending. As the owner of humongous reserves of energy, Alaska has a responsibility to ensure that those resources can be tapped and easily sent to market - this is especially important considering the need to make our nation energy independent. From my perspective, money going to this pipeline counts as spending on infrastructure, no different than building a highway - and that is a valid function of government. This does not look to me as if it will require a tax hike, since Murkowski had earmarked $300 million in the budget for building a gasline. Furthermore, Palin's overall operating budget for this fiscal year actually CUT $124 million from the one which had been proposed by Murkowski.

I also think it's worth mentioning that Palin is also being solidly conservative regarding the potential of the state government raking in profits from the pipeline once it is completed. Murkowski had wanted the state to be 20% owners of the pipeline. Palin, on the other hand, sees problems in the state owning stock in a business that it also regulates. In a gubernatorial debate last year, she said that the government should either own all of the stock or none of it (and she leaned pronouncedly toward owning none).

The bidding process is also solidly in line with conservatism. The Murkowski proposal hampered the free market by only allowing negotiations with only three companies - that's not sound economics at all. The Palin plan instead opens the bidding to any firm interested in the project; this competition will ensure that the state gets the most possible bang for its buck (especially important considering the offer of matching funds.) Requirements that companies recruit Alaskans are also a decent idea. While it may drive the price of the gasline up a little, it will also create jobs and ensure that the project benefits the people whose taxes are paying for it.

As for the route of the pipeline, I am much more impressed by Palin's all-Alaska plan than Murkowski's outsourcing of responsibility to the Canadians. If you're going to build a line, build it where it will create jobs for your own people and will not be controlled by foreign interests. In addition, I do think that it is a good idea to require that the line be built in such a way that it allows Alskans to receive and use THEIR OWN GAS. This would not have been possible had the line veered off into Canada.

Lastly, tax breaks always make the economy run smoother, so I have a difficult time seeing how offering them could be a bad thing.

So, upon final analysis, I think that AGIA is a great idea. I'm sure that there are kinks to be worked out, but nothing is perfect and that's why the state legislature exists. All in all, this seems to be a solidly conservative proposal. There may be those who say that offering $500 million in matching funds makes Palin a big-spending RINO, but I have already illustrated that such accusations are patently untrue. Incentives will ensure that the gasline actually gets built and begins bringing Alaskan gas to market as soon as possible. I like AGIA a lot, and I think that it shows that Sarah Palin knows how to think outside the box in order to get results - yet another reason that she would make a fine Vice President of the United States.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

What this site is all about.

Since getting noticed by the Anchorage Daily News and a few other blogs, I have gotten some interesting comments. One from an Alaskan who seemed to take offense that an outsider was attempting to comment on a political figure from their state, and another saying that this site was nothing more than an attempt to get attention for myself. However, no one actually bothered to consider my basic premise - that Gov. Palin would make a stellar candidate for national office. If you disagree with me, that's fine, but let's have a dialogue concerning my suggestions (more details on my reasoning now available by clicking the "Why Sarah Palin?" link to your right) .

Yes, I know that the idea of Sarah Palin being Vice-President sounds a little off-the-wall at first, but is it really all that bad of an idea? I think not. If I had not truly believed that Gov. Palin would be a tremendous national leader, I would not have started this blog. Furthermore, most people who I told about my idea agreed that Palin would be a good candidate on the national scene. Only now, with a little more exposure from various (non-Republican) sources, am I starting to get negative feedback. So, I will stick by my assertion that Sarah Palin would be a good choice for the Republican Party in 2008. I extend a warm welcome to my new visitors, Alaskan or otherwise, and welcome civil, informed dialogue on Gov. Palin as a potential candidate for national office.

Coming soon: Coverage of Governor Palin's activities in Alaska, including the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), her new proposal to build a massive natural gas pipeline in Alaska.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

...and I thought getting publicity was going to be hard!

When I lauched this blog, I thought I was going to have a hard time getting people to read it....but I forgot that local plaitical reporters in Alaska probably search the term "Sarah Palin" on a regular basis. I figure that's how comments about this site ended up on an "Alaska Politics" blog on the Anchorage Daily News.

So, thank you to reporter Kyle Hopkins for the free publicity.

Now, I feel a need answer one commenter on Mr. Hopkins' blog, because two valid issues are raised by it:

"I just can't find the right words to describe the Palin faithful. Does she even know about the blog?"

First, I am not "the Palin faithful". I am not even an Alaskan. I decided on Palin as a potential running mate after a lot of research in which I considered every GOP Governor, Senator, and Congressman. Second, I highly doubt Gov. Palin knows this blog exists at the moment.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

3, 2, 1, LAUNCH!

Welcome to the VERY FIRST website promoting Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as a potential candidate for Vice-President in 2008! Feel free to look around, and I hope you find this site to be an informative source of information about Governor Palin. I look forward to expanding this dialogue, and I hope the you will continue to stop by and participate in this discussion.

Thoughtful comments from all Republicans are encouraged, but please remember to keep it civil.

Lastly, please take the time to familiarize yourself with Governor Palin and thoughtfully consider her as a potential Vice-Presidential nominee - I think that you will be impressed.


Disclaimer: Niether this blog nor its proprietor are personally connected to Gov. Palin in any way.

Become a Blogger For Palin!

The only way to kick-start talk of a Palin candidacy is for the bloggers like us to band together to show our support. Otherwise, the media and the political establishment will remain blissfully unaware that there are other VP options beyond the current presidential candidates.

Show the world that you want a new face on the ticket in 2008 by becoming a Blogger for Palin!

How to join:

If you use Blogger: Leave a comment on this post using your Blogger username (so I can find your blog easily), then write a post about Gov. Palin on your blog so that I know you genuinely support her.

If you use a different blogging platform: Send me an email at with a link to your blog, then endorse Gov. Palin for VP on your blog so that I that you are who you claim to be.

In the near future, I hope to post some cool "Palin for VP" graphics that you can add to your blog as a show of support.