Palin's Debut Focuses on Drilling & Domestic Oil, Gas

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s speech accepting the Republican vice presidential nomination on Wednesday night conveyed her support for the type of energy policy you’d expect from someone who has expressed doubts over mankind’s role in climate change. During the speech she largely focused on increasing domestic oil drilling and natural gas production, and gave very brief mentions to nuclear, clean coal and a laundry list of alternative sources. She didn’t touch on climate change or go into any details about getting the U.S. off of fossil fuels.

“Energy independence,” was the key term, and Palin stressed finding domestic resources so that the U.S. isn’t dependent on foreign nations for its fuel supply. Palin highlighted her work in Alaska to help build a $40 billion natural gas pipeline that could increase American domestic power supplies. On the subject of increasing both domestic natural gas and oil drilling, Palin was clear:

We Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we’ve got lots of both. Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems – as if we all didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

Drilling has been an issues that Republicans have championed, and during a speech by Rudy Giuliani the crowd chanted “drill, baby, drill.” Palin’s sentiments were similar to presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s but didn’t touch on McCain’s more cleantech-focused policies like a national cap and trade system, tax breaks for fuel-efficient cars and dropping the tariff on Brazilian ethanol.

Between the presidential and vice presidential nominees, Palin is the least aggressive on clean power, and she showed that clearly in her acceptance speech. No surprise then that the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman said that, with the nomination of Sarah Palin, McCain had “completed his makeover from the greenest Republican to run for president to just another representative of big oil.”