05.13.2011 0

Sarah Palin for Secretary of Energy

By David Bozeman – The good news for drivers is that gas prices are expected to fall by roughly 25 cents, just in time for Memorial Day and the summer driving season (which begs the question, where, Bill O’Reilly, do greedy oil execs and conniving speculators figure in when gas prices tumble?).

With election 2012 looming and Sarah Palin very likely not a candidate, the Republican frontrunner should consider the former governor and chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) for the office of energy secretary. The GOP nominee may find her name toxic to undecided voters, but, as president, he (or she), in putting people above politics, will not find anyone more determined to mold a 21st Century energy policy that puts our country first.

Sadly, long-range energy planning only enters the public dialogue when gas prices skyrocket. And in recent weeks, the current administration, through Attorney General Eric Holder, has towed the predictable line of going after price gougers. Talk about innovation. At least President Obama is not telling us, as candidate Obama did, that under his plan costs would certainly rise, and he’s not reminding us now to check the pressure in our tires. Furthermore, he has finally come out for drilling — but for Brazil, unfortunately.

Sarah Palin, by contrast, knows energy. Ask her about the Bush Doctrine and she is flummoxed. Ask her what she reads and she’s not sure where you’re coming from. Ask her about energy policy and the woman won’t shut up. Aside from her aforementioned chairmanship of the AOGCC, she, as governor, awarded a contract for the start of a 1700 mile natural gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay AK to Alberta, Canada (known as AGIA, the Alaska Gasoline Inducement Act).

Her relationships with oil companies, however, have been tenuous and controversial. She reportedly admonished some for sitting on leased lands without tapping their supplies, and, to the chagrin of some, she made the AGIA negotiations open and publicly transparent. She, unusual for a free-market conservative, famously gave every Alaskan a share of oil profits, but under the state’s constitution, such natural resources are owned by the people.

As the wife of a unionized oil-field machinist (separated for weeks at a time in opposite ends of the state), what Sarah Palin really brings to the table is the mindset that not drilling further is not an option. She even publicly opposed her own running mate John McCain over ANWR (though she strongly favors an all-of-the-above policy, including renewable energy and conservation).

During the gulf oil spill of 2011, she was one of the few to note the perils of drilling in deep water when so many untapped reserves exist inland and closer to our shores. As an Alaskan, she harbors a fond appreciation for the scenic and recreational value of public land and would surely strike a balance favorable to development and preservation.

Capitalism, to her, is not merely the most practical path to a desired end — hard work, innovation and risk- taking define her very outlook. Finally, she would arrive in Washington fully aware that her post and department are not sources of energy and that our greatest resource for future prosperity is a free and innovative people — a blueprint that any secretary in any administration would do well to copy.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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