Straight Talk About Sarah Palin and ‘Big Oil’ in New Palin Book
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ — The Anchorage, Alaska-based authors of the new book, “Sarah takes on Big Oil,” have been asked with increasing frequency if they wrote the book on behalf of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, who is running on the Republican ticket with presidential hopeful John McCain.
Sarah takes on Big Oil is largely the story of Palin’s battle with Alaska’s ‘Big 3′ oil producers over a proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to U.S. markets. The book’s authors, Kay Cashman and Kristen Nelson, are the longtime editors of Petroleum News, an Anchorage-based weekly newspaper and the state’s only standalone oil and gas publication.
“We wrote the book because it was timely and interesting. Our newspaper doesn’t publish editorials, much less advocate for particular candidates,” Cashman said. “We presented the Big 3 oil producers side of the story in the book, as well as that of the Palin administration.
“If Sarah Palin comes off as a competent leader with a firm grasp of energy issues, it’s because she did a good job as Alaska’s CEO against the CEOs of three multi-national oil companies, who were looking out for the best interests of their shareholders,” Cashman said. “In the end, because of the long-term uncertainty of natural gas prices, Palin might have to give companies looking to develop North Slope gas fields some of the same incentives the former governor was willing to give them, but she still will have gotten a lot better deal for Alaskans. More important, she got the project moving.”
What about press reports that paint Palin as a tool of Big Oil?
“We haven’t seen any evidence of that in Alaska,” Cashman said. “The people in her administration, and Palin herself, have said Palin is in favor of developing Alaska’s resources, that she’s pro-development, but she’s not pro-industry. That jives with what we’ve observed.”
Before writing the book, the authors interviewed three people who had worked closely with Palin on resource issues during the two years Palin had been governor.
“One, the commissioner of Revenue, Pat Galvin, is a Democrat. Another, deputy commissioner of Natural Resources, Marty Rutherford, is a Republican who campaigned for Democrat and former Gov. Tony Knowles, against Palin, in the last election. The third was Republican Tom Irwin, commissioner of Natural Resources. All three are intelligent, knowledgeable individuals, who haven’t been afraid to speak their mind under past governors,” Cashman said. “Familiarity breeds contempt. We figured if there were cracks in the Palin administration, we’d hear it from at least one of these three people.”
But what the authors found was an increasing respect for Palin.
They started with Rutherford, who had worked under six governors and who Cashman described as “cynical” by nature.
Here is some of what she told Cashman and Nelson about Palin: “I enjoy working with her. She sets the vision and then lets you do the work. She’s responsive to arguments, to debate. … I’ve worked with several governors. This is the first time I can say I am really quite fond of this governor. … So many governors make decisions on, not what’s best for the people of the state, but how it will make them look. … When she’s in a room with you and she leaves the room to meet with the press, it’s not show time. She’s the same person outside that room as she was inside it.”
Galvin and Irwin were equally positive about the governor.
“All three made a point of telling us,” Cashman said, “that when Palin has to make a decision that might reflect poorly on herself, she’ll say, ‘I’ll just have to take a political hit.’”
Dan Seamount, a petroleum geologist and one of two commissioners who served with Palin in 2003 and early 2004 on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, had the following to say about Palin: “She’s smart, a quick study. Her adversaries’ biggest mistake is underestimating her intelligence, her understanding of issues. And she uses their arrogance against them.”
Cashman and Nelson’s book, “Sarah takes on Big Oil,” is an overview of the two most important energy issues Palin has dealt with as governor — the gas pipeline and an increase in production taxes.
“Our book was actually written in a little over a week,” Cashman said. “There’s a whole lot more we could have covered. But Sarah takes on Big Oil tells people how she performed on major energy issues as governor of Alaska. And unlike some of the articles we have seen about Sarah Palin and the oil industry, we don’t have a hidden agenda, as many of the people interviewed for those stories appear to.”
Have Cashman and Nelson given any interviews?
“No, we’re back at work at Petroleum News. We’ve turned down interviews because we have been playing catch-up. But we have offered reporters a printed copy of our book when it comes out, and we’ll answer questions after it has been sent out,” Cashman said.
The printed version of Sarah takes on Big Oil will be released Friday, Oct. 17; the eBook version was released Oct. 14.
For more information visit http://www.sarahtakesonbigoil.com/ or http://www.petroleumnews.com/.
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