Palin exaggerated her record on pipeline

Sarah Palin has presented a new oil pipeline as one of her chief accomplishments -- but it may only ever exist on paper.


Alex Koppelman
September 11, 2008 5:45PM (UTC)

Thus far, one of Sarah Palin's key achievements as Alaska's governor is the deal she helped engineer for a natural gas pipeline that's been delayed for decades. Supposedly. In the New York Times, reporters Serge F. Kovaleski and Mike McIntire show that the pipeline isn't all Palin has made it out to be.

Speaking at the Republican convention, Palin said, "When that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart."

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Turns out that last section may never be laid, and the valves may never be opened. Kovaleski and McIntire report:

Certainly [Palin] proved effective in attracting developers to a project that has eluded Alaska governors for three decades. But an examination of the pipeline project also found that Ms. Palin has overstated both the progress that has been made and the certainty of success.

The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years away and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade. In fact, although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin’s relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built, and under a worst-case scenario, the state could lose up to $500 million it committed to defray regulatory and other costs.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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