Sarah Palin on Environment
Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President
At their first meeting. Sarah said her main goal was to build more bike paths in the city. That was it. No greater vision, and certainly no covert Christian extremist agenda. "Bike trails are my baby," Sarah said. No mention of any affiliation with the evangelical right.
During the campaign, ignoring the bike paths, Sarah focused the secular aspects of her campaign on two issues: closing hours for local bars and liberalization of Alaska's already lenient gun laws.
Instantly, Alaskans thought of the fisheries. The fishing industry in the Valdez-Cordova area employs thousands of people--in fact, fisheries are the state's top private-sector employer.
Ultimately, the tanker would spill 11 million gallons of oil into the water--and contaminated 1,500 square miles of shoreline. Many Americans remember the Exxon Valdez spill as a series of tragic environmental images: Litters of dead seabirds slicked in shrouds of slime. Sinister black muck surging against the rocks. But in addition to being one of the worst manmade environmental disasters in history, the spill was an economic and social disaster. The spill would change Alaska forever.
After the long clean-up effort, as days rolled into weeks, then months, then years, Alaskan's frustration mounted as ExxonMobil steadily refused to step up and pay the penalty the courts decided it owed for destroying the livelihood and lifestyles of so many families and communities. And no one in local, state, or national government seemed able to hold the corporate giant accountable.
ExxonMobil's litigation compounded the suffering. Court challenges stretched on for two decades. It took 20 years for Alaska to achieve victory. As governor I filed an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs, and in 2008 the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the people. Finally, Alaskans could recover some of their losses.
THE FACTS: That response is at odds with her reaction at the time to the ruling, which resolved the long-running case by reducing punitive damages for victims to $500 million from $2.5 billion. Environmentalists decried the ruling as a slap at the victims and Palin herself said she was "extremely disappointed." She said the justices had gutted a jury decision favoring higher damage awards. "It's tragic that so many Alaska fishermen and their families have had their lives put on hold waiting for this decision," she said, noting many had died "while waiting for justice."
This action follows written notice given more than 60 days ago, asking that the regulation listing the polar bear as threatened be withdrawn. “We believe that the Service’s decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available,“ Governor Palin said.
The Service’s analysis failed to adequately consider the polar bears’ survival through prior warming periods, and its findings that the polar bear is threatened by sea-ice habitat loss are not warranted. The Service also failed to adequately consider the existing regulatory mechanisms which have resulted in a sustainable worldwide polar bear population that has more than doubled in number over the last 40 years to 20,000-25,000 bears.
Miller’s bill would ban the shooting of wolves from aircraft, a component of moose and caribou management plans in five specific areas of Alaska. Contrary to what Rep. Miller said in Washington yesterday, there is no “aerial hunting” of wolves in Alaska, Palin said. “Our science-driven and abundance-based predator management program involves volunteers who are permitted to use aircraft to kill some predators where we are trying to increase opportunities for Alaskans to put healthy food on their families’ dinner tables. It is not hunting.”
“Our scientist feel confident that it would be unwarranted to list Cook Inlet belugas now,” Gov. Palin said. “Seven years ago, NMFS determined that these whales weren’t endangered, and since then, we’ve actually seen the beginnings of an increase in their population. We are all doing everything we can to help protect these important marine mammals.“
The state submitted 95 pages of data and formal comments to NMFS on the proposed listing, pointing out that the Cook Inlet stock of belugas is recovering from an ”unsustainable harvest“ in the early 1990s. ”I am especially concerned that an unnecessary federal listing and designation of critical habitat would do serious long-term damage to the vibrant economy of the Cook Inlet area,“ Palin said.
The state Departments of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Revenue are now writing the regulations to enforce the taxes, environmental permits and disclosure rules. The new taxes and rules go into effect Dec. 17.
Palin opposes a constitutional amendment, saying equality provisions should not be tampered with. She says the state should work toward another resolution that protects subsistence for those who need it most.
Knowles & Palin are in accord on one final item: No fish farms in Alaska waters.
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NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle