Some of Palin's remarks stretch the truth

SPEECH: Gas pipeline, earmark issues have more subtlety than described.

September 4, 2008 

Gov. Sarah Palin's remarks to the Republican National Convention about her record in state government stretched the truth.

GAS PIPELINE

PALIN: "I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.

THE FACTS: Palin implies that construction has begun on a major natural gas pipeline from the top of Alaska into Canada. That is not correct.

In fact, no building has begun and actual construction is years away, if it ever happens. This summer the Alaska Legislature, at Palin's request, passed a bill under which the state will issue a "license" to a Canadian energy company, TransCanada Corp., and pay it up to $500 million as an incentive to someday build this enormous project, which Alaska politicians have long sought with little success. The license is not a construction contract, and federal energy regulators have not yet approved the project.

Palin also puts the price tag for the project at $40 billion, an exaggeration. This is roughly $10 billion more than most cost estimates industry players and consultants have made to date.

EARMARKS

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million.

In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation, although she has cut, by more than half, the amount the state sought from Washington this year. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."


This story was reported by Daily News reporter Wesley Loy and the Associated Press.

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