Palin Slams Parnell, Says YES on 1
Former Governor Sarah Palin was likened to Joan of Arc by her followers in her 2006 run for governor. Today she was back in the saddle taking on the “good old boy network,” using her new subscription website to slam the administration of Republican Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (her own former Lt. Gov.), and members of the state legislature (also R) for engaging in crony capitalism, and shilling for Big Oil. She was, as they used to call her, a breath of fresh air.
In an 18 minute long address provided to viewers as a free sample of her programming (which costs $9.95 a month), Palin came out forcefully defending the crown jewel of her half term in office, an oil tax system known as ACES – Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share. Parnell pushed hard to have ACES thrown out after Palin resigned. After one failed attempt, Parnell campaigned hard for candidates friendly to his plan, and ultimately ACES was replaced with his alternate bill, SB21, which gives oil companies billions more a year in revenue from Alaska’s oil, with no promises or commitments from the industry for increased exploration, production, or jobs. Palin never named names but referenced Big Oil having “huge influence in the governor’s office” and jabbed at Parnell’s former job as an oil industry lobbyist. Also sharply criticized were Senators Pete Micchiche (R-Kenai), and Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), both employed by Conoco-Phillips and both votes for SB21. Palin noted this more than once, calling them “white color oil company employees who are legislators!” She also noted that SB21 had passed the legislature by the narrowest of margins. “And that bill, it barely squeaked by. Just one vote changed everything,” she said. “That tells you that the public’s will wasn’t for the lawmakers to just cave.” ACES, she said, had passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and the support of the people, and it was working. She acknowledged ACES might need “a tune-up” but said that SB21 “isn’t a tune-up, it’s a demolition.”
The former governor waxed nostalgic about ACES, her former team of expert energy advisors whom Parnell later dismissed, and the two year effort to implement the tax system which has filled Alaska’s coffers. She walked Alaskans through the history of The Corrupt Bastards Club when legislators in Juneau sold their votes to Big Oil for a song. And then, she shook her head at SB21, urging Alaskans “to hold their government accountable” and vote yes to reverse SB21 at the ballot box on August 19th.
“Well, we knew it was coming during this two year evaluation process that we went through – lots of negotiating… ” Palin reminisced. “Big Oil, we knew that they would cry poverty. We knew it, because we’d heard it before. Every time the public rose up to question Big Oil’s adherence to lease agreements, Exxon and the others cried poverty to drown out the truth, and common sense, and facts proving ACES [worked].”
Her message was clear, and her position hasn’t changed since 2007 when ACES became law, and Alaska entered a new era, and a new relationship with the oil industry.
“Are we really going to be suckered again by Big Oil and some of the crony capitalists with their hands in all this? Are we going to fall for this scare mongering? And they say they’re suddenly going to go pack their bags and leave the giant, giant oil fields up here if they don’t get absolutely everything that they want! Well, any long-time Alaskan Sourdough knows that’s their m.o. It’s to be expected that they’d scare Alaskans into thinking that all our jobs are at risk if they don’t get every single thing they want,” she said.
“…we also need international oil companies to respect Alaskan resource owners and share in the value clearly and equitably instead of trying to buffalo us with multi-million dollar propaganda campaigns.”
Vote No on 1 signs large and small, bumper stickers, mailers, leaflets and stickers can be found peppering Anchorage. TV and radio ads are ubiquitous. It isn’t difficult to tell which side has the multi-millions. But the Yes on 1 contingent is fierce and determined. It was through their Herculean boots-on-the-ground efforts that the ballot measure to repeal SB21 will appear at all. Their biggest weapons have been editorials, letters to the editor, and social media. And now, whether they expected it or not, Sarah Palin.
The issue has been taking on an increasingly partisan feel, with Democrats generally falling in line behind Yes on 1, and Republicans split on the issue. Palin’s endorsement may mix things up. Despite her role as a Fox News regurgitator of talking points in recent years, Palin’s speech is strangely reminiscent of the Palin we knew as governor, before we watched her step on the national stage and said, “Wait… What happened to Sarah?” She may have been the recipient of legitimate criticism while she was governor, but one thing nobody ever called her with any seriousness, was an oil shill.
“Reversing ACES is a devastating step backwards on this road to building our young state,” she concluded. “We’ve got to change that. Let’s keep Alaska’s future in the hands of Alaskans. I am voting yes on Proposition 1. I urge all Alaskans to do the same.”
You can watch the video HERE. And I have transcribed Pain’s address in full below.
Former Governor Sarah Palin – Securing Alaska’s Future to Secure Our Nation, 7/31/14 (17:59)
Alaska, we’ve been down this road before. You know Alaska’s future is resource development and jobs for our families that secures our future. I think we need to have a candid discussion about how we get there. The only way we’re able to develop our resources – our oil, our gas, our minerals is to do it responsibly, and aggressively, and ethically. As former governor and chairman of the oil and gas conservation commission, and of our nation’s interstate gas compactcommission, you know that energy is my baby. I preach “Drill baby, drill” for a reason. It’s that inherent link between energy and prosperity, and energy and security. It is real, and it is key to understand it.
We’re going to vote on how to put a value on our non-renewable resource – oil. And with that Alaskans will choose which road we go down, either more drilling and pipelines and jobs, or we’ll forget the lessons that we learned in dealing with the Big Oil companies and we’ll make a mistake that will stymie development. This will happen on August 19th. Alaskans will vote on a critical ballot measure that cuts right to the heart of resource ownership, state finances, our hopes for a prosperous future, and a sovereign future. And jobs.
As you know, Alaskan residents are the resource owners. It’s per our state’s constitution, written right in there. Our oil belongs to us – we the people – purposefully, and clearly it’s been spelled out in the constitution that there never be a mistake made that let others lay claim to it. Oil is our product. We have every right and a responsibility to value it appropriately, to demand a clear and equitable share of our oil’s value.
When I was elected governor, it was clear that we’d been taken for a ride by crony capitalists for far too long. Anyone remember the decades of battle with Big Oil over their Exxon Valdez spill? I do, because I sued Exxon. For too long we didn’t exert constitutional muscle. And most unfortunately this was with the complicity of some corruption in state government. Who could forget that episode? The corruption was exposed. Remember the FBI swooped in, guys went to prison. Remember the crew too in the state capital dubbing themselves ‘The Corrupt Bastards Club.’ They wore that proudly. They had forgotten who they work for. These were influential lawmakers and they thought they worked for these big multinational oil companies instead of the people. Well, we the people rose up and we said, ‘Never again.’ Big Oil finally lost control of both houses of the legislature, and this was the first time that had happened since the early 80s. Alaskans could finally secure a fair share of our own energy resources. Our Constitution and the will of the people prevailed. My administration created legislation that would protect the people’s interest, and the state’s future, and your jobs!
The new law was called Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share – ACES. It passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in a cleaned up legislature, if you will. It was passed by public servants who wouldn’t trade votes for anything offered by industry players. Most of them knew who they worked for – the people. Now we finally had the opportunity to ‘Drill, baby drill!’ ethically, responsibly, fairly. Big Oil couldn’t call the shots anymore to our detriment. ACES opened that door. In creating ACES, we knew Big Oil wasn’t going to tell us what was in our best interest. And, in a way, don’t begrudge them for that. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re looking out for their bottom line. It’s all about their bottom line – Capitalism 101, right? I’m a capitalist – love it! Of course. But they’re looking out for their bottom line, just ask their shareholders; they’re doing what they’re tasked to do.
We knew what Big Oil would do, because my administration and I had seen this rodeo before.
My commissioners were the best of the best on energy development with so much experience in the public and the private sector in the energy sector. My cabinet was Republican and Democrat, because I wanted a ‘team of rivals’ but with the common goal of justice for Alaskans, and it worked because we worked. And beyond my team, we hired the world’s best internationally respected oil experts. They were at the table, on OUR side of the table, facing off against British Petroleum, Exxon, Conoco-Phillips – all the big dogs in the industry. Well, we had the best experts – the expert economists and scholars, and they would work with us to determine how to secure fair market value that would be placed on our oil extraction. We partnered fairly, ethically, with oil companies. Every consultant had a similar message, that Alaska had obviously for decades been essentially giving resources away, while providing BP, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon with huge financial benefits that of course they took advantage of, and then were able to just sit on unused leases.
You see, previous governors, a couple of them, were very very close to Big Oil, and they wouldn’t demand that oil companies uphold obligations that were in their lease agreements – obligations to develop and to share value with the resource owners. Previous governors wouldn’t allow competition in the oil fields because of that action. They wouldn’t allow those unused leases that had been sat upon for decades – they wouldn’t go out to rebid the leases. So this monopoly of Big Oil in Alaska – so influential – it shut out the independent companies that were just chomping at the bit to come up here and drill, and pump, and hire our workforce. So, I changed that. My team changed that. The goal of ACES was to partner with oil, for their benefit and our own, and to allow competition and get things rolling to provide energy for Alaskans, and the rest of America. ACES would protect the owners of the oil. And finally incentivize new production. It’s all about new production. We can’t just rely on what we know in our big fields. We need new exploration, new production.
Well, we knew it was coming during this two year evaluation process that we went through – lots of negotiating… Big Oil, we knew that they would cry poverty. We knew it, because we’d heard it before. Every time the public rose up to question Big Oil’s adherence to lease agreements, Exxon and the others cried poverty to drown out the truth, and common sense, and facts proving ACES. We knew the companies operating under ACES would likely realize an extraordinarily high rate of return of 123% at a conservatively average $80 per barrel, which of course now oil is more than $80 per barrel, but from new investments in Prudhoe Bay (that of course is our huge oil and gas reserve on the North Slope, up in the Arctic)
And good Lord, at that rate of return, oil companies couldn’t deny the figures, and they could never expect, nor could they ever get that in other parts of the world where they were drilling. It was clear ACES was working!
North Slope exploration was on the rise, finally! Competition – it would make everything and everyone better in this industry now. Incentives to explore being ethical and open-to-the-public resulted in the state’s treasury benefitting like never before. And we were able to save for the future, and forward-fund education, and reform state pensions – all of this being priority because I warned, and others had warned that Alaska wouldn’t be able to stay on the federal government’s teat much longer. We could and we should be more independent and self-sufficient. We could to this – we have the ability, we have the workforce, we have the resources. The nation couldn’t and can’t afford to prop us up forever. That’s why I slashed earmark requests by 96% while in office.
Through the success of ACES, we were able to start that weaning off of government funds to operate our state government. We were able, too, to give the people’s money back to the people. Government doesn’t produce anything – government doesn’t make money – it’s the people’s money. So thanks to ACES we gave a tax surplus back to the people – a $3200 Alaska dividend check was sent to every Alaskan man, woman and child. It was a dividend from their share of the development of THEIR oil. The money was termed by the public as an “energy bonus” and it would be used most likely to offset crippling costs of energy in some of our cold, cold cities and villages.
With ACES unemployment was low, the North Slope was booming.
Unfortunately it only took six years for Big Oil to regain control. They took control of the narrative again, and their huge influence in the governor’s office, and ultimately both houses of the legislature. The result? ACES out the window, and legislators including white color oil company employees who are legislators! They caved.
They changed out ACES for Senate Bill 21 (SB21) as we call it. And that bill, it barely squeaked by. Just one vote changed everything. That tells you that the public’s will wasn’t for the lawmakers to just cave.
Remember, oil employees got to vote on this. ACES, on the other hand, had passed with overwhelming public support. ACES showed the public up front, and always in the open, that financially it was an equal partnership between resource owners (the people) and oil companies, and the feds, because of course the feds, they’d be taking a huge chunk of revenue in this. Lawmakers and an oil-friendly administration changed all that. And when I say “oil-friendly” – I mean, I’m oil-friendly. Oil development has been my family’s bread and butter for many years. Todd worked up on the North Slope as a production operator. In fact, when I was governor, I got criticized for “being in bed with Big Oil – literally” but I knew to put the people first. Anyway, when I say “oil-friendly” remember that some of these state players work for Big Oil. Some were lobbyists for Big Oil, that’s what they had done. We’ve been down that road before.
With SB21 they created something that doesn’t incentivize new exploration and increased production, and remember that’s what we need! SB21 landed us a one-way giveaway to Big Oil without any guarantees or concessions to protect the people’s long-term interests.
In fact, under this giveaway, Big Oil is the only entity guaranteed, and they are guaranteed by far the biggest chunk of revenue than any entity in all of this including the owners of this valuable, non-renewable asset. We’d been down that road, and it didn’t work. Are we really going to be suckered again by Big Oil and some of the crony capitalists with their hands in all this? Are we going to fall for this scare mongering? And they say they’re suddenly going to go pack their bags and leave the giant, giant oil fields up here if they don’t get absolutely everything that they want. Well, any long-time Alaskan Sourdough knows that’s their m.o. It’s to be expected that they’d scare Alaskans into thinking that all our jobs are at risk if they don’t get every single thing they want.
Some people I respect believe that ACES could use a little tune-up. I think that’s fine. In fact, that’s what we explained to the public under ACES. If a tune-up was needed. ACES, like any rig needs a tune-up every once in a while, just like my Toyota Tundra needs a tune-up. Maybe that’s what it needs, but SB21 isn’t a tune-up, it’s a demolition. Thank goodness we have a chance to reverse SB21 at the ballot box on August 19th. We have the ability to reclaim our future as Alaskans. All that we the people have to do is hold our government accountable. Look them in the eye and say,
“You’d better look Big Oil in the eye, and tell them ‘No, you can’t have it all. We’ll partner with you, we’ll work with you as we’ve always wanted to do, but you’re not going to bamboozle us across the negotiating table. Not ever again.’”
So manifesting our diligence and commitment to Alaska’s bright future, we tell them that scrapping their lopsided SB21 is the way that we need to go. We do that by on August 19th by voting to repeal SB21. That how it gets scrapped. We vote yes, and we say yes to more development, more open and ethical deals, and more jobs, and a prosperous future. I believe Alaska is providentially positioned to help secure the union. I’ve talked about this before. It will be done by taking responsibility for the resources that we own.
I believe we are positioned for a reason here. Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet believed the same thing and that’s why his Secretary of State William Seward recognized the beauty of the resources, and the strategic location of this territory called Alaska. That’s why he purchased it from the Russians for 2 cents an acre. He knew too that some day, Alaska would help secure the union. So, we became a state. We promised that we’d be as self-sufficient as possible when we became a state, and that was 50-some years ago. We’re new; we’re young. We said that we would be self-sufficient by developing our God-given natural resources and America is going to count on Alaska to get us out from the influence of foreign oil that we import from countries that do not like us. They don’t have laws and standards to protect the environment and workforces like we do. They don’t have the untapped reserves like we do. And they use energy as a weapon against us, and our allies. The more we produce, the safer our nation will be, and the more prosperous our state will be.
Three things are required for us to live up to that statehood promise:
- Protection of responsible development opportunities.
- The federal government must allow us to develop, with lands unlocked and permits granted to explore, and drill and build pipelines. Get that infrastructure going that is needed on these lands in order to drill for the underground resource.
And we also need international oil companies to respect Alaskan resource owners and share in the value clearly and equitably instead of trying to buffalo us with multi-million dollar propaganda campaigns.
Those three components are the hat trick. ACES was and is the center for a mutually beneficial deal resulting in good jobs and a competitive developments, and oil industry profits that keep ‘em roaring. Those profits keep them pumping and earning, and keeping their shareholders extremely happy, and deservedly so – again. Oil execs – they’re just doing what they’re tasked to do by their shareholders.
Reversing ACES is a devastating step backwards on this road to building our young state. We’ve got to change that. Let’s keep Alaska’s future in the hands of Alaskans. I am voting Yes on Proposition 1. I urge all Alaskans to do the same.
Vote yes. That way we say yes!