YOU’RE THE POET IN MY HEART
Kudlow: Well what do you have up there around ANWR? Is it a bunch of big fat blue flies? People say nobody goes up there. Humanoids don’t populate it. It’s just the blue flies. I mean, I want to keep blue flies healthy. Maybe you can tell us about that?
Palin: Well sure, we want to keep the blue flies healthy also. [Laughter]. But again, it’s a small portion of land up there. Alaskans understand that while we have these reserves underground, ready to be tapped, you know, we want to invite safe responsible development. We want those who can safely develop it. We want them to compete for the right to tap those resources and start feeding these hungry markets.
Kudlow: How long would it take? How long would it take? I hear so many, Senator Obama says this, and a lot of Democrats say this, some Republicans, how long will it take Governor? What’s your estimate on this? To start lifting out of ANWR?
Palin: It’s going to take at least five years. You know, and there are other areas in Alaska too, that have the reserves that need to be tapped, certainly offshore. There’s trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, and billions of barrels of oil there too that need to be tapped. We also have a natural gas pipeline that is underway now, a process to get that constructed, where we can build infrastructure and allow known reserves of natural gas up on our North Slope – it’s already there, it’s already proven – to be tapped and flow through a natural gas pipeline. Our legislature is dealing with that issue right now, getting ready to license a company to build that gas line. Again, to feed these hungry markets.
Kudlow: Alright, so now you’ve got another case where both candidates seem to be off course. Senator Obama wants a windfall profits tax on oil companies. And Senator McCain talks about obscene profits, which I regard as the near cousin to the windfall profits tax. What’s your response to these criticisms?
Palin: Well we just went through a process of making sure that the oil and gas resources that Alaskans own are properly taxed. And we just increased a tax on profits of oil companies up here, because an earlier version of Alaska’s tax formula had been corrupted by some politicians who are now in prison for the corruption. But we had to revisit the way that we were going to tax profits on oil companies. We just got through that, and it wasn’t an obscene amount of tax placed upon them. In fact, it’s driven more by a desire to explore and to develop with independent companies coming into Alaska. So you know, on a national level, they’re going to have to deal with that, but we just dealt with it on Alaska’s level. And we have a healthy valuation of our oil and gas reserves, and we’re deriving healthy revenue for our state off that.
Kudlow: Well are profits a dirty word? In energy, or other businesses?
Palin: Well no, of course not. And low taxes of course, we know spur the economy. I’m a Republican. I am for low taxes. We have to make sure though that an appropriate value is placed oil and gas resources. And that the people who own these resources are able to benefit from the development of them. But no, profit is not a dirty word.
Kudlow: Why don’t we just liberate, and decontrol, and deregulate the whole bloody energy business – whether it’s oil, gas, shale, nuclear, coal, natural gas, as well as wind and solar – why don’t we just decontrol, deregulate, go for an America first energy policy? Get independent of Saudi Arabia? America first. Create all of these millions of high paying jobs. Why isn’t anybody talking about that in this race? That’s the natural, Reaganesque thing to do. Isn’t it?
Palin: Yeah absolutely! You’re hitting the nail right on the head. That’s what so many of us normal Americans are asking. The same thing. Why aren’t the candidates talking like that? Where we can secure America and we can be more independent when we talk about energy sources if we could drill domestically.
Here we sent [Energy] Secretary Bodman overseas the other day, and our president had to visit the Saudis a few weeks ago, to ask them to ramp up development. That’s nonsense. Not when you know that we have the supplies here. You have the supplies in your sister state called Alaska, where we’re ready, willing and we’re able to pump these supplies of energy, flow them into hungry markets across the U.S. We want it to happen. It’s Congress holding us back. ………………….
Kudlow: Here’s the bad news. The Congress is going to take their summer recess without a vote — not even a vote — on rolling back the moratorium on drilling onshore and offshore. Not even a vote. Nothing on ANWR. Nothing on shale. Nothing on the Outer Continental Shelf. What’s your reaction to this?
Palin: Well with all due respect to Congress, it’s pretty pathetic, that action they’ve taken. I appreciate the President’s call to lift the moratorium. I appreciate the President’s call to drill in ANWR, to do all those things for American production opportunities. Very, very disappointed in Congress though.
Kudlow: You know we talked about a month ago, or last time you were on the program, you told me you were going to persuade Senator McCain to drill in ANWR. Now actually, McCain’s come a long way on drilling Outer Continental Shelf. Have you yet talked him into ANWR?
Palin: I have not talked him into ANWR yet. But yeah, aren’t you appreciative though that his mind has evolved into being open enough to say yes to that offshore? Obama certainly hasn’t gone there. So, you know, for me it’s all the more reason to support the Republican ticket heading into the next era in American economy here. We certainly need this. We need it for American security, for energy independence. All those things we talked about last time. I think we need McCain in that White House despite, still, the close-mindedness on ANWR. I think he’s going to get there though.
Kudlow: All right, well we need you to persuade him. Now you’re fighting a battle in the state. You want to get a new natural gas pipeline, as I understand it. You’ve got to get it through your state legislature. You’re going to run that up from the North Slope down through Canada and eventually to the lower forty-eight. What’s the state of play on that? Are you winning or losing on your new gas pipeline?
Palin: We’re winning and I’m glad that you asked that question. It’s so timely because it could be today that our lawmakers vote yay or nay on the TransCanada pipeline, natural gas pipeline being built 1,700 miles. This is North America’s largest, most expensive, private sector infrastructure project in our history. It’s $30 to $40 billion dollars to deal with the energy crisis—get this safe, stable, clean domestic supply of energy and natural gas flowing from our rich reserves up in Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska, into the hungry markets in the Midwest especially.
Kudlow: Now you’re fighting with the legislature. You may get a vote this evening. Have you gone out and done a poll? Have you talked to the polar bears, and the caribou, and the large black flies? Are you sure? I want everyone on board here.
Palin: Well we do want everyone on board there. And as for the wildlife, you know, they’re doing just fine under the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline of course that has been up and running for thirty years in Alaska. So we think that even they will be on our side also, as we build this next economic lifeline for Alaska and for the rest of the U.S.
Kudlow: All right, let me go to some tougher issues up in Alaska, the so-called culture of corruption, this energy services company Veco, buying favors for state and federal contracts. I guess people linked to Veco, a couple of state legislators have been convicted, a couple more investigations, a couple more being indicted, and Senator Ted Stevens has now been caught in that loop. What can you tell us about Senator Stevens? Have you spoken to him since his seven criminal charges?
Palin: No, I haven’t spoken to him yet. And you know, it was very dismaying. It was like an earthquake that hit up here in Alaska the other day with that indictment. Very sad. Hopefully though, this won’t be a distraction and get people’s minds off what has to be done in the grand scheme of things here. And it’s like what you’re talking about all the time Larry, it is energy independence that is needed for this country. And we need folks in Congress, in the Senate, who understand that we do have to drill, that we have to unlock the lands here in Alaska, and allow, through competition, entities competing for the right to tap these resources and flow energy sources into hungry markets.
So hopefully, the Ted Stevens issues won’t be a distraction. But yeah, lots and lots of damage has been done by this oil industry service company, Veco. You know we have some local lawmakers who are serving prison time right now for their undue influence, their corruption, their bribery that was involved in this oil services company. Now Ted Stevens, as you mentioned, is embroiled in this also. Not good for Alaska. But hopefully…
Kudlow: Well what about the Republican Party in general? I mean, it seems to me the GOP has just got to cleanse itself of all the pork barrel corruption, lobbying, cash-for-favors that cost them the Congress back in November 2006. And for better or worse, Mr. Stevens has served for a very long time, I’m not here to judge him. I’m merely here to report the fact that he’s in a heap of trouble. I mean, shouldn’t he resign for example? Shouldn’t leaders like yourself and elsewhere just say, “Senator, all right, clean break, please resign?”
Palin: Well, I thought that it would be my job as governor working on the state level with those who were indicted for the corruption and bribery, to call for their stepping down. And that’s what I did. And for the most part they have stepped down. And again, some of them are facing prison terms now and are in prison. But as for Senator Stevens, still not knowing enough about that indictment yet. I think that two days later it would be premature for me to chime in and say whether he has to step down or not.
But you’re absolutely right on the cleansing that’s needed in our party, in the Republican Party. And you know I think Senator McCain is on the right track with the earmark reform that he is so adamant about. I’m right there with him. We for instance here in Alaska, our administration, we cancelled that Bridge to Nowhere. You know, we know that that earmark was not in Alaska’s, it wasn’t in the nation’s best interest. So we’re going to be a part of that reform also. It’s absolutely necessary, for the Republican agenda, which I do believe is the right agenda for Alaska and for [America].”
Maverick hits a homer.