Sarah Palin on Environment

Republican Governor (AK); ; nominee for Vice President

Exxon Valdez spill was environmental & economic disaster

Good Friday, March 24, 1989 turned into one those "where were you when..." moments. In Prince William Sound, America's northernmost ice-free port, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez had run aground and some of its cargo of 53 million gallons of North Slope crude was pouring into the water.

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.

Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p. 59-60 Nov 17, 2009

20 years to recover Exxon Valdez damages for people of AK

[After the Exxon Valdez spill], with the polluted Prince William Sound unfishable and incomes dried up, banks repossessed scores of commercial fishing vessels, leaving hundreds of people jobless. Entire commercial salmon and herring fisheries closed after the disaster.

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.

Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p. 61-62 Nov 17, 2009

FactCheck: Praised $500M for Valdez victims; but wanted $2B

PALIN: Welcomes last year's Supreme Court decision deciding punitive damages for victims of the nation's largest oil spill tragedy, the Exxon Valdez disaster, stating it had taken 20 years to achieve victory. As governor, she says, she'd had the state argue in favor of the victims, and she says the court's ruling went "in favor of the people." Finally, she writes, 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."

Source: AP Fact Check about "Going Rogue", in NY Times Nov 13, 2009

Opposed protections for salmon from mining contamination

This month, Ms. Palin issued a last-minute statement of opposition to a ballot measure that would have provided added protections for salmon from potential contamination from mining, an action seen as crucial to its defeat.
Source: New York Times, pp. A1 & A10, “An Outsider Who Charms” Aug 29, 2008

Sue US government to stop listing polar bear as endangered

Governor Sarah Palin announced today the State of Alaska has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to overturn Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: press release, “Polar Bear” Aug 4, 2008

We must encourage timber, mining, drilling, & fishing

Industry knows we want responsible development. Anadarko will drill Alaska’s first-ever gas-targeted wells on the North Slope. Chevron, FEX, Renaissance--many others are exploring. That’s ratification of AGIA’s promise to make investments profitable for industrious explorers. There’s more we can do to ramp up development. Our new reservoir study can increase development and we will ensure better, publicly supported project coordination. To cultivate timber and agriculture, we’re encouraging responsible, economic efforts to revitalize our once-robust industries. We can and must continue to develop our economy, because we cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks.
Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature Jan 15, 2008

Wolf predator control is important for subsistence hunters

Gov. Palin criticized Congressman George Miller’s (D-CA) legislation to eliminate an important element of wildlife management by the State of Alaska. “Moose & caribou are important food for Alaskans, & Rep. Miller’s bill threatens that food supply,” said Gov. Palin. “Rep. Miller doesn’t understand rural Alaska, doesn’t comprehend wildlife management in the North, and doesn’t appreciate the Tenth Amendment that gives states the right to manage their own affairs.”

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.”

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 07-197, “Wildlife” Sep 26, 2007

Feds shouldn’t list beluga whales as endangered

Gov. Palin has told the federal government that the state is extremely concerned about a proposal to list Cook Inlet beluga whales as an endangered species, and urged the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) not to list the species.

“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.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 07-175, “Beluga” Aug 7, 2007

Provide stability in regulations for developers

I’m keenly aware of sharply declining production from North Slope fields. The amount of oil currently flowing through the Pipeline is less than half of what it was at its peak. We must look to responsible development throughout the state--from the Slope all the way down to Southeast--every region participating! From further oil and gas development, to fishing, mining, timber, and tourism, these developments remain the core of our state. We provide stability in regulations for our developers.
Source: 2007 State of the State Address to 24th Alaska Legislature Jan 17, 2007

Convince the rest of the nation to open ANWR

The standard should be no different for industry. Ironically, we’re trying to convince the rest of the nation to open ANWR, but we can’t even get our own Pt. Thomson, which is right on the edge of ANWR, developed! We are ready for that gas to be tapped so we can fill a natural gas pipeline. I promise to vigorously defend Alaska’s rights, as resource owners, to develop and receive appropriate value for our resources.
Source: 2007 State of the State Address to 24th Alaska Legislature Jan 17, 2007

Fish platform: “Resource First” philosophy

COMMERCIAL FISHING: Fish Platform: Do What’s Right For Alaska’s Fishing CommunitiesI am not only a champion for Alaska’s fishing industry, but a part of it. My family is proud to be a Bristol Bay fishing family. If we manage for abundance, we should have enough fish for all our needs
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska Nov 3, 2006

Rail provides critical link for business development

Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska Nov 3, 2006

Supports “Roads to Resources”: subsidized access to mines

When it comes to spending state money, Palin is generally conservative. Yet Palin supports the state’s “roads to resources program,” which funds roads to mines and other natural resources projects such as oil and gas. Knowles say the state should not subsidize road construction to new mines.
Source: Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile Oct 31, 2006

Don’t duplicate effort in monitoring cruise ship emissions

Palin questioned environmental aspects of the new cruise ship law in an Oct. 17 letter to the Alaska Travel Industry Association, the state’s major tourism group. Palin questioned whether the new environmental monitoring is “redundant” under state law and she said no other Alaska business faces the consumer disclosures now required for cruise lines. Palin worried about the law’s environmental enforcement and its requirement for cruise lines to disclose their commissions for channeling passengers to flightseeing companies, rafting businesses, gift shops and other on-shore vendors.

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.

Source: Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile Oct 30, 2006

Don’t amend AK constitution for rural subsistence fishing

Subsistence fishing might be the issue that most clearly separates Knowles and Palin. 83% of rural households have subsistence fishing permits. Knowles expended much effort as governor trying to reconcile state and federal law, the latter of which gives rural residents priority to fish and game on the vast federal lands in Alaska. He wants an amendment to the Alaska Constitution to cement the rural priority. Pundits reckon that position is a plus for Knowles among rural voters.

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.

Source: Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile Oct 29, 2006

Other candidates on Environment: Sarah Palin on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010