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332 Landslide

332 Landslide

February 25, 2008

Alaska Governor Defies Oil Giants and Own Party

This article was posted on AlertNet, a website that posts it's purpose as "Alerting humanitarians to emergencies". It is a Reuters foundation website, and here is their stated purpose "Created in 1982 to support journalists from developing countries, the Foundation today embraces a wide range of educational, humanitarian and environmental causes and projects. "
My hat is off to AlertNet and the foundation for not only reporting on existing emergencies, but keeping an eye out for potential emergencies, hopefully giving us time to do something about it before the need to report it as an actual emergency. Below is an excerpt, please click the title to be taken to the webpage containing the entire article.


A former small town mayor and mother of four, Palin was appointed chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC), the board that sets technical standards for oil and gas produced on state lands, by Republican governor Frank Murkowski in 2003.

Palin's stint with the normally staid AOGCC was tumultuous. Soon after joining she began complaining about the conduct of Randy Ruedrich, the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, who Murkowski appointed as the AOGCC's top petroleum engineer.
Palin accused Ruedrich of ethical violations and resigned in disgust after less than a year in office. Before stepping down, she turned over incriminating evidence against Ruedrich to investigators.
Faced with this evidence, Ruedrich pleaded guilty to violating the state ethics act and was fined $12,000. But he remains chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.

A social conservative, Palin found herself a rising political star ahead of the 2006 elections as Alaskans grew disenchanted with Murkowski's scandal-plagued administration.
Palin's squeaky-clean image and outrage over Murkowski's attempt to negotiate a natural gas pipeline contract behind closed doors propelled her to the top of the polls.
She humiliated Murkowski in the Republican primary and cruised to victory in the general election just as news of another scandal, this one implicating Republican members of the legislature, began to break.

A federal investigation had turned up evidence that executives at VECO Corp, Alaska's biggest oil services company, had been bribing some Republican lawmakers to ensure support for legislation favorable to the oil companies.
Although no evidence has been brought to light linking the oil companies with VECO's activities, recordings of senior oil company executives discussing political lobbying efforts with VECO officials led many Alaskans to conclude the majors were behind the bribery.
Palin used the uproar over the VECO scandal to partner with Democrats in the legislature to push through an increase in taxes on oil production and to set up a new state-backed effort to design a natural gas pipeline project free of the influence of the majors.

The companies are not backing down without a fight. They have already announced investment cuts due to the tax hike and have warned the Palin's gas pipeline plan is doomed to failure without their support.

(Additional reporting by Yereth Rosen, editing by Alan Elsner)
(Click the title to read the full article)

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