Is Sarah Palin really that serious about renewable energy?
Sarah Palin represents an interesting paradox when it comes to Big Oil and alternative energy. While she has, in fact, "gone after" Big Oil, arranging for higher taxes on Big Oil in Alaska, she at the same time advocates more drilling in her home state in order to ease the current energy problems. (We’ll save the debate over whether or not drilling more oil would really help our energy problems in the long run for another time, though.)
So, while Big Oil can’t be happy with the taxes she imposed, they certainly can celebrate the possibility that the energy policy Palin influences if McCain wins could benefit them. Besides, the money that is disbursed to Alaska residents to help them pay the costs of energy just ends up back in Big Oil pockets anyway…
Things get somewhat confusing in terms of Palin’s stance on alternative energy. While she paid lip service to alternative and renewable energy in her convention speech, the truth about how she "supports" renewable energy in Alaska looks a little different. Here are some of the highlights:
- Vetoed $20 million for a wind energy project. (She did allow it to go through, finally, this year.)
- Vetoed funding for a variety of renewable energy projects, including a hydropower project.
- Allowed $2 million in funding to convince the public that humans do not cause global warming.
- Argues that polar bears should not be listed as endangered species.
The types of alternative energy Palin favors are things like "clean" (in quotes because it’s sort of an oxymoron) coal and nuclear energy. She does very little, in terms of talking or doing, with renewable energy sources like wind, solar and water.
To my mind, that is a very big indicator of where policy is likely to go if she has any influence over it. Not to mention the fact that, as someone who is pro-drilling, Palin would likely encourage and pave the way for the additional devouring of the environment in favor of fossil fuels that will increasingly hinder any sort of energy independent and sustainable future.
Disclosure: I plan to vote for Barack Obama.