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ALL Republican Delegates Are Unbound [and Have Been for the Past 160 Years]

TrumpDelegates

By Curley Haugland and Sean Parnell

As the Republican National Convention prepares to kick off next week in Cleveland, there is a lot of confusion and controversy over the question of whether delegates to the convention are “bound” to vote for any particular candidate as a result of primary or caucus results, or state party directions.

The controversy stems from the fact that a large number of delegates believe they cannot in good conscience vote for presumed nominee Donald Trump, while the confusion stems from either a misunderstanding of the history and rules of the Republican National Convention, or more recently a blizzard of misinformation and misdirection coming from those who wish delegates were bound

Here are the facts about delegates to the Republican National Convention and efforts to bind their vote according to primary results or instructions from their state party.

Republican delegates to the national convention have always been unbound by national party rules, with the single exception. The issue was decisively settled in 1876 when delegates voted 395 to 353 to uphold past rulings stating that delegates could not be bound to vote against their conscience. Following the vote, the chairman of the convention summarized the party’s position by saying “[I]t is he right of every individual member thereof to vote his individual sentiments.”

In the following convention in 1880, rules committee chair James A. Garfield, who wound up winning the nomination himself on the 36th ballot and the White House that fall, wrote what is today Rule 37(b) of the temporary rules of the convention. This rule was enacted specifically to provide a mechanism that would ensure every delegate was unbound and free to vote their conscience, and it gave every delegate the right to challenge his delegation’s announced vote on the floor of the convention and have his vote recorded as he wished.

In rejecting the binding of delegates, both the 1876 and 1880 conventions were embracing what had been the understanding of previous conventions dating back to 1856, the first Republican National Convention. At both 1860 and 1868 conventions, some delegations arrived with instructions or recommendations from their state conventions on which candidate to vote for, and at both conventions the right of delegates to ignore those directions and vote their consciences was upheld.

The Republican National Convention has also historically rejected the idea that state laws could bind delegates any more than state party rules or directions could. The very first time delegates were supposedly bound by state law was at the 1912 convention.

Both the Illinois and Oregon delegations announced that state law dictated how they were to vote, but that some delegates did not want to vote as ordered. In the same way the Republican convention had always rejected any sort of binding, those delegates were allowed to vote according to their consciences and ignore state law. The Oregon delegation made similar announcements in 1916 and 1920, and each time delegates were allowed to ignore state law and vote their consciences.

Although some claim it is “illegal” for delegates to defy state laws instructing them how to vote, the U.S. Supreme Court held in two cases nearly forty years ago that state laws could not trump national party rules. Part of their reasoning was that political parties must be free from government control, particularly in matters as important as who the party’s nominee would be, delegate selection, and how delegates could vote.

A careful reading of the rules passed by the 2012 Republican National Convention proves this to be the common understanding and practice of the party. Rules 14 and 16, which govern the election and selection of delegates to the convention, include several references to the fact that the national convention is free to ignore state law, including two occasions where rules begin with the phrase “No state law shall be observed…”

And Rule 16(b)(1) stipulates that state party rules take precedence over state laws governing the election and selection of delegates, and that national party rules take precedence over both. So clearly the national party does not accept that state laws can supersede either state or national party rules.

The only time delegates have been bound by primary results or anything else was in 1976, when the campaign of President Gerald Ford pushed through a rule requiring votes from nineteen states with laws purporting to bind delegates be announced and recorded as if those laws were valid. It was widely understood at the time those laws were unconstitutional as a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling, but the rule was sufficient to bind delegates’ votes for the first time in Republican National Convention history.

The gambit seemed to pay off, as it helped Ford defeat his challenger, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan. At the 1980 convention the rule change pushed through by Ford was eliminated, and the rule reverted back to essentially the same language as the rule first adopted at the 1880 convention. The rule remains largely identical today.

The last remaining argument by those seeking to impose binding on delegates is Rule 16(a)2, which supposedly directs the secretary of the convention to record votes “in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under these rules, state law, or state party rule.” But there are two major problems with this rule.

The first is that it contradicts both itself and other national rules. State law and state party rules may conflict, as they do in Virginia, where state law dictates that all delegates must vote for the primary winner while state party rules say delegate votes should be proportional to the outcome. More importantly, both the state law and state party rule conflict with the national convention’s Rule 37(b), which prevents any delegate from being bound.

Second and most importantly is that Rule 16 is not actually part of the convention rules – it was added in 2013 as part of a section of rules that expire at the start of the 2016 convention. The only rules that can affect how delegates vote and whether they are free to vote their conscience are first the temporary and then the permanent rules of the convention. According to Rule 42, those rules are numbers 26 through 42 (plus the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, which are not relevant to binding).

In short, the history of the Republican National Convention proves that delegates have always, with the exception of 1976, been free to vote their conscience, and the rule that has protected this right over the last 136 years remains part of the temporary rules of the 2016 convention. The U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on the issue also make clear that delegates are free to ignore state laws purporting to bind them, and the one national party rule purporting to bind delegates expires at the start of the convention.

These facts make clear that all delegates are completely unbound and free to vote their conscience on any and all matters that come before them, including the first ballot to decide the party’s nominee for president. No rule change is needed to unbind delegates, so long as the party stands by its 160-year history (aside from the blemish of 1976) protecting this important right.

Delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention have been entrusted with the duty of selecting the party’s nominee to face Hillary Clinton in November (probably – the Democrats also have rules in place that protect the right of delegates to vote their consciences). They should carefully weigh their options, considering not only primary and caucus results but also who is best suited to represent Republican values and win in November.

Whomever emerges as the party’s nominee will be strengthened, not weakened, by demonstrating that they won the Republican nomination based not on coercion and intimidation, but instead on delegates freely and honestly concluding they should be the nominee.

Curly Haugland is a Republican National Committeeman from North Dakota and serves on the rules committees of both the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Convention. Sean Parnell is a public policy consultant in Virginia. They are co-authors of the book Unbound: The Conscience of a Republican Delegate.

Free The Delegates Regina Thompson Quote

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Sarah Palin’s Goal Of 50% Renewable Energy Use In Alaska Signed Into Law

By Gary P Jackson

One of the first things Barack Obama did, once he took office, was to announce a pretty ambitious goal of having the United States get 25 percent of it’s energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. To date, little if anything, has been done by the Obama regime to reach this goal.

On January 21, 2009 (Obama’s first full day at work) Sarah Palin, writing in the Wall Street Journal, praised this initiative strongly, while reminding Obama that conventional sources of energy will always be needed. She also announced that she was working on the goal of having Alaska get a full 50 percent of it’s energy from renewables in that same 2025 time frame.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Tax Cuts and Fiscal Discipline

By Sarah Palin

Especially evident in these trying economic times is America’s need for affordable, abundant and secure energy. This means American energy resources developed through American ingenuity and produced by American workers. I applaud President Obama’s focus on alternative and renewable energy, and here in Alaska we’ve joined the effort: I have asked Alaskans to focus on obtaining 50% of our electric generation from renewables by 2025. In the meantime, we must not abandon oil and gas exploration and development. In fact, Americans should demand the cooperation of the major oil producers so that Alaska’s vast supply of clean natural gas can be brought to market. Alaska stands ready to positively contribute to the nation’s markets and energy needs.

Another step on the path to economic recovery is to let Americans keep more of their income. Mr. Obama and Congress could make this happen with permanent tax cuts and by adhering to a path of fiscal discipline. When congressional appropriation trains run too hastily, they accumulate excess baggage, spending more taxpayer money. Leaving more money in American pockets through tax cuts and fiscal discipline stimulates the business-investment and job-creation climate — the climate for economic recovery.

Finally, we are extremely proud of our men and women in uniform. Mr. Obama and Congress must continue to guarantee a strong national defense by modernizing and equipping our armed forces; by treating active-duty military and veterans fairly; and by supporting the families of our service members. America will face difficult challenges in the years ahead. As Mr. Obama takes the helm, our prayers are with him as he seeks direction for our great nation.

Now one must understand the rest of the story here. While Obama wanted to have the entire nation at 25 percent on renewables, Alaska was already there, and had been for some time. Many people don’t understand that while Sarah Palin’s Alaska was a leader in conventional energy production, environmentally responsible energy production, and the leader in weeding out corruption in the business and in the governmental agencies that regulate it, the state is also a leader in renewables. In other words, Alaska already gets 25 percent of it’s energy from renewable sources.With that said, shooting for the next 25 percent is big, bold, and ambitious.

Sarah understood this was a long term goal, just like AGIA, her natural gasline project, and something that would be ongoing well after she left office. Sarah left Alaska in the very capable hands of Sean Parnell, who has performed admirably as Governor, and continued on with Sarah’s policies. He has especially worked hard on energy related issues.

That brings us to this announcement, as reported by Wind Power Monthly:

US: Alaska has passed legislation calling for the state to derive 50% its electricity from renewable and alternative energy sources by 2025.

House Bill 306 reinforces a 50% renewables goal announced by former governor Sarah Palin. Notably however, the goal is not binding on utilities.

The bill calls for Alaska to encourage economic development by promoting the development of alternative energy sources, including geothermal, wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, tidal and biomass.

Paradoxically, the bill also calls for the development of non-renewable resources including coal, oil and natural gas. It says the state should “remain a leader in petroleum and natural gas production“.

The bill says the state should review and streamline energy regulation, but does not offer details on how this would be accomplished.

Governor Sean Parnell said: “The policy encourages coordination of government functions and streamlines regulatory processes across all levels of government.

Parnell has also signed into law SB 220, which calls on the governor to submit a report to legislature recommending how best to increase coordination and efficiency between energy-related agencies.

The report is due by January 31, 2011. Alaska has 7.8MW of wind installed, placing it 32nd among the 37 US states with wind capacity.

Its largest and most recent wind farm is the 4.5 MW Kodiak Island wind project, which came online last year.

I love how this report says “ paradoxically” talking about conventional energy sources. This reporter doesn’t realize that while Sarah Palin may have set this incredibly ambitious goal, and Governor Parnell and the Alaska legislature is doing it’s absolute best to achieve this for her, and the state, the rest of the country, sorely lacking leadership, is nowhere near meeting a far less ambitious plan.

We aren’t going to be getting away from a petroleum based economy anytime soon. As we reported here, quoting a study from 2008:

…… untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.

That’s three centuries worth of oil. Longer than The United States has been a nation!

This also doesn’t take into account the estimated billions of trillions of cubic feet of clean burning natural gas that also sits in the ground waiting to be used. We’ve long said if the environmentalists were serious, instead of chasing electric cars, hydrogen, or other money pits, they’d be working on converting the fleet to clean burning compressed natural gas for fuel.With the technology that currently exists, it’s a no brainer.

The Big Three automakers: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors already offer CNG powered vehicles. Better yet, they offer dual fuel vehicles that can run on either gasoline, or CNG, so availability of either fuel is never an issue.

So, as shocked as the above reporter may be, tapping these incredibly abundant resources is not only smart, but essential. Can you imagine how the world, and America, would look if we weren’t sending somewhere between $700 billion and $1 trillion a year out of the country to buy crude oil?

Job creation alone would be staggering. The national security implications incredible. Much of those nearly $1 trillion spent annually go to nations that actively work against our interests. Many openly hate the United States, but take our money, and then use it to fight against us.

With that said, Sarah Palin’s goal of making Alaska energy independent just moved forward in a big way. If she can do this in Alaska, just think what her leadership, and inspiration, from the Oval Office could produce.

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Sarah Palin Tells Radical Environmentalists: “You Are Damaging The Planet With Your Efforts To Lock Up Safer Drilling Areas”

By Gary P Jackson

No one credible disputes Sarah Palin’s expertise on energy. This woman knows what she is talking about here. The radical left has a diabolical scheme, but it has little to do with a clean environment, and a lot to do with destroying America, and lining it’s pockets in the process.

Sarah speaks:

Extreme Enviros: Drill, Baby, Drill in ANWR – Now Do You Get It?

This is a message to extreme “environmentalists” who hypocritically protest domestic energy production offshore and onshore. There is nothing “clean and green” about your efforts. Look, here’s the deal: when you lock up our land, you outsource jobs and opportunity away from America and into foreign countries that are making us beholden to them. Some of these countries don’t like America. Some of these countries don’t care for planet earth like we do – as evidenced by our stricter environmental standards.

With your nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you’re doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You’re not preventing environmental hazards; you’re outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country’s energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It’s catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

We need permission to drill in safer areas, including the uninhabited arctic land of ANWR. It takes just a tiny footprint – equivalent to the size of LA’s airport – to tap America’s rich and plentiful oil and gas up north. ANWR’s drilling footprint is like a postage stamp on a football field.

But it’s not just ANWR; it’s our Petroleum Reserve, too. As Governor Sean Parnell noted today in the Wall Street Journal:

“Federal agencies are also now blocking oil development in the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska.


Although familiar with ANWR, most Americans are less likely to know about NPR-A and how vital it is to our energy security. Given recent developments, it’s time to elevate the position this area holds in our national discourse.


NPR-A, a 23 million acre stretch of Alaska’s North Slope, was set aside by President Warren Harding in 1923 for the specific purpose of supplying our country and military with oil and gas. Since 1976 it has been administered by the Department of the Interior, and since 1980 it has been theoretically open for development. The most recent estimates indicate that it holds 12 billion barrels of oil and 73 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.


In addition to containing enormous hydrocarbons, NPR-A is very close to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which means that there would be relatively little additional infrastructure needed to bring this new oil to our domestic market.


But even here, progress has been stalled.”

Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There’s nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.

– Sarah Palin

There is more to Governor Parnell’s op-ed:

For more than five years, the state of Alaska has worked closely with major energy companies, local communities and Alaska Native corporations and tribes on a balanced development plan. To back this project, these entities have formed a rare coalition and made significant compromises, often at the behest of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to clear regulatory hurdles for development on a site in NPR-A known as CD-5.

But this February the Corps reversed course and denied the issuance of a critical permit for CD-5. Specifically, the Corps denied ConocoPhillips’s request to build a bridge over a river to accommodate a pipeline and vehicles that can access the company’s existing production facilities at the nearby Alpine field. The Corps decreed that the bridge shouldn’t be built and that the pipeline should proceed under water, a course of action that would significantly undermine the economics of the project while posing a greater risk to the environment.

Alaska stands ready to help move the nation closer to energy independence, and it’s a shame that the federal government is standing in the way. The Corps’s own regulations emphasize that state and local governments have primary responsibility for land-use decisions and that their views should be given due consideration. But not only has the Corps rejected a critical permit, it did so without consideration of our concerns—on the overly technical grounds that the state’s comments were not made under my signature and that my oral comments to Corps officials were not in writing.

After years of cooperatively trying to move this critical NPR-A project forward, such a backhanded dismissal of a state’s position is troubling enough. But what we really fear is that this is part of a much broader agenda at play (directed by the antidevelopment Environmental Protection Agency) to shut down increased domestic oil and gas production even in places like the NPR-A. As Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski stated in a recent address to our legislature, “For heaven’s sakes, if we can’t drill in the National Petroleum Reserve—an area specifically designated by Congress for oil and gas production—where can we drill?”

The state of Alaska is seeking to join an administrative appeal of this misguided federal decision. If we are not satisfied with the outcome of this proceeding, we will pursue other means, including suing the federal government to ensure that it abides by its own regulations and does not make arbitrary and capricious decisions at the expense of state sovereignty and wise energy policy.

America, particularly in Alaska, has vast reserves of onshore and offshore oil and gas. The crisis in the Gulf should not be used to implement a misguided strategy that shuts down the opportunities to develop these resources and that further endangers our nation’s long-term energy security.

I for one am glad to see Sarah come out swinging here. The radical Marxist-progressives hijacked the so-called “green movement” decades ago, and are using it as nothing more than a vehicle to impose a communist style government both in America, and world wide. These people are evil, nothing more and nothing less.

There are several masters being served here by the Obama regime, and it’s disciples. First, there is the money, lots of money. The Obama regime, using the tenets of radical environmentalism, .which is based on a hoax, (global warming) to set up a cap and trade system that will see Obama, Al Gore, and many others rake in tens of trillions of dollars from people who are forced to purchase “carbon credits” through the Chicago Climate Exchange, which was created by Obama, and has among others, Al Gore, and elements of Goldman Sachs as partners. You can read more on The Greatest Swindle In Human History here and here.

One thing we must also never forget, while Obama and his people are doing everything they can to shut down all energy production in America, last year, Barack Obama loaned Brazil $15 billion in order to drill off it’s own coast. How does that square with the Obama regime’s cries for a “cleaner planet“? Anyone really think Brazil would be more diligent than America on environmental safety?

The real story here is the fact that three days before Obama gave Brazil the $15 billion tax payer dollars, his real boss, former Nazi sympathizer George Soros, purchased controlling interest in Petrobas, the Brazilian oil giant that will be using this gift of our money. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out who stands to make an obscene amount of money if America is no longer producing oil.

Soros is one of the most evil men on the planet, and owns the Marxist-democrat party lock, stock and barrel. He funds hundreds of Marxist-democrat party organizations. It stands to reason they will help him add even more wealth to his bank account, since his groups are responsible for keeping the most corrupt President and the most corrupt political party in our nation’s history afloat.

David Horowitz’s Discover The Networks has a profile on Soros here.

So far, all we are seeing is massive corruption, and a cap and tax scheme that is so evil that Bernie Madoff would cry foul. All of this manipulation by the Obama regime, and the pushing of a proven hoax (global warming) is nothing more than a high end, Chicago Gangland Shakedown, on a global scale.

For their part, the radical Marxists will get to witness the complete and total destruction of America, as well as the greatest redistribution of wealth in history.

The real losers in all of this, are the poor misguided fools who actually care about the planet, and want to see it cared for responsibly. Absolutely nothing in Obama’s “green agenda” has to do with making the planet cleaner. The only green Obama and his fellow travelers care about is the kind of green that has dead presidents on the front.

Unfortunately, the people who may actually care about the planet, have been indoctrinated in radical environmentalism and Marxist ideology for a generation. They have been taught to be closed minded and to have complete hatred for anything and everything that doesn’t fit the narrative. This is quite tragic, because there are people, who aren’t radical Marxists, that have the knowledge and skill to not only satisfy America’s need for energy, clean, inexpensive energy, that fuels our entire economy, but have a genuine love for our planet, and will go out of their way to do it right. They just aren’t devout followers of Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky.

Sarah Palin is one of those people. She knows the oil and gas business as well as anyone out there. She worked to hold big oil accountable, and reform the system in Alaska. Sarah has first hand knowledge of what a disaster like the Gulf oil spill will do. As Governor, Sarah created an agency that was responsible for holding Big Oil responsible, and coming down hard when they weren’t. More importantly, she kept an eye on this commission, to make sure they did their job. It’s what a good CEO does.

It’s ridiculous and quite dangerous for us to be drilling for oil so far off shore. Drilling in mile deep water isn’t just asking for trouble, it’s begging for it. If we were in shallower water, closer to land, this problem could have been more easily gotten under control, but the extreme depths radical environmentalists, and greedy, corrupt politicians have forced upon America, are the culprit here.

Radical environmentalists loose heir mind when the talks turn to ANWR. Their media partners always aid them by running stories showing majestic eagles flying, polar bears looking all cuddly, and lush, green land. Now that may indeed represent some part of ANWR, but not where the oil is. Not where people want to drill.

ANWR is roughly the size of the state of South Carolina. As Sarah points out, the spot where the oil is, is about the size of the Los Angeles International Airport. If you’re a Texan, think D-FW. International Airport. It truly is like comparing the size of a postage stamp, to the size of a football field.

Also, the spot where the oil and natural gas are, is not all that nice. In the winter, it’s frozen tundra, that is barely inhabitable, and in the summer the most endearing features are the black flies and mosquitoes the size of a small bird! If you look on the map, there are already energy producing fields very close to this area.

I remember when I was younger, the radical environmentalists lost their minds when planning for the Trans-Alaska pipeline was underway. The outrageous claims of devastation and destruction were just as over the top as what we see today.

Oh the caribou!

My goodness this was going to destroy the caribou. Now mind you, most Alaskan’s rely heavily on caribou and other game for their very survival. As Sarah puts it, “I eat, therefore I hunt.” This is very much the way of life in Alaska. Alaskan’s aren’t going to destroy their food supply.

Long story short, as always, the environmental moonbats were wrong. It seems that the oil that comes through the pipeline is warm, even when the outside temps are well below zero. Caribou love the warmth. It also makes the caribou, and other game rather romantic. Instead of making the caribou extinct, these buggers multiplied like rabbits! So much for the wisdom of radical environmentalism.

Several things need to happen here. One, we need competent leadership, from people that actually have an understanding of how stuff works. We need someone who is honest, and incorruptible. That of course, would be Sarah Palin, and those like her.

We also must start investigating the massive lies and corruption that surround the so-called “green movement” as well as all of those involved with the Obama regime. Someone must have the guts to go after Obama, and all of the members of Crime, Inc. We also need someone with the guts to go after George Soros, and take this guy down. He is pure evil, and funds pure evil worldwide.

The Marxist-democrats like Obama love to shout from the rooftops how evil capitalism is, and how we need “social and economic justice” to “make things right“, but under the shadow of darkness, these evil men work and scheme to find the best way to steal America, and the world, blind, making themselves rich beyond all imagination. In the end, all Obama and his fellow travelers really are, are just common criminals.

It’s the Chicago way.

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Sarah Palin’s Natural Gas Pipeline: A Dream Moving Forward As TransCanada Announces Open Season

Sarah Palin, like all politicians, made many campaign promises when she ran for Governor in Alaska. Unlike many politicians, Sarah made good on all of hers. And while that is remarkable unto itself, no campaign promise made was more important to the Alaskan people than building a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the lower 48.

So important, and so desired by the people, is the construction of this pipeline that promising to get it built was a staple on the Alaskan campaign trail for over 30 years!

As Sarah noted in her book, Going Rouge, An American Life on page 111:

Our campaign would focus on cleaning house in government and facilitating the private-sector development of energy resources, specifically ramping up production of America’s energy supplies and building the 3,000 mile, $40 billion natural gas pipeline that other administrations had been promising to build for decades. It could ultimately go from the North Slope to hungry Midwest markets out of a Chicago hub. No more time wasted recycling the same old arguments and excuses as to why it couldn’t be done. I was determined that Alaska was going to start contributing more to the nation.

If you notice, there is a very important element to Sarah’s plan for development: “facilitating the private-sector development of energy resources.” This is Sarah recognizing that in most cases government is not the solution to any given situation, it’s the problem. Politics had stood in the way of getting this pipeline built for over 30 years, so Sarah, using common sense, sought to have as minimal government involvement as possible, and maximum private-sector participation. A refreshing change of pace, and a model for all governments to follow.

On her very first day on the job as Governor, Sarah set the wheels in motion to get this project rolling. From page 125 of Going Rogue:

Ethics reform was already underway, with some lawmakers already under arrest, so to kick off the Palin-Parnell agenda, we started with the natural gas pipeline on our first day in office.

For Alaskans, the term “gasline” is as familiar as “irrigation” is to Californians or “Wall Street” is to New Yorkers. Except that Californians and New Yorkers already reap the benefits of these economic lifelines, while Alaskans have been waiting for more than fifty years to realize the benefits of the state’s vast reserves of natural gas. At least 35 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves lie untapped on the North Slope, and geologists say there are hundreds of trillions more both on- and offshore. Our oil and gas supplies would be enough to provide 10 years of total energy independence for the entire country.

Below Governor Sarah Palin Lt. Governor Sean Parnell and officials from TransCanada are seen at the signing ceremony where TransCanada was awarded the license to build the natural gas pipeline:

As one can see, the stakes are high, and the rewards, for the entire nation, substantial. After talking about the fact that heavy government interference, labor and environmental restrictions had driven producers out of the country and over to foreign supplies of oil and gas, Sarah Adds:

It was unfortunate that our government’s well-meaning polices had driven producers to other parts of the world where there were no restraint’s on their activities. That was no way to protect the environment or heat the economy.

With my background, I understood the concerns of all of the parties: as a free-market capitalist I understood the bottom line for the oil producers; as the spouse of an oil worker I understood the Slopers and their families’ reliance on oil jobs; as a mayor I understood the communities’ dependence on oil’s economic contributions; as a lover of the land I understood as well the environmentalists’ and Alaska Natives’ concerns.

Sarah goes into further details of her thought process in the book, including how CEO look to maximize profit for their shareholders, and how as CEO of Alaska, it was her job to maximize the benefits to the Alaskan people. I’ve found, over the last few years that many people don’t understand the unique relationship the people of Alaska, as well as the state government, all have with the oil companies.

In Alaska, the Constitution dictates that the oil, natural gas, and other energy resources belong to the people, the citizens of the state. So, just like anyone who buys shares in a publicly traded company, the Alaskan people are shareholders in the Alaskan energy business. As Governor, Sarah took many steps to maximize the values of those shares to the Alaskan people, just as any good CEO would do.

Much has been written about the processes of how the natural gas pipeline project came to be, but the bottom line is this: By creating a market driven process, with great emphasis on the private-sector, Sarah was able to move this pipeline project from 50 years worth of talk, to reality, in just a few short years. I suggest those who are looking for more detailed information on the process read Sarah’s book, and check out the archives at US4Palin, where editor and publisher Ron Devito has carefully documented the entire process.

In this video from Canadian TV Sarah discusses the processes as well as leadership:

OK, now that we have some of the background out of the way, let’s get to the latest updates on the process that will see the completion of the gasline by 2020.

From Yahoo Finance Canada:

CALGARY/ANCHORAGE (Reuters) – TransCanada Corp and partner Exxon Mobil Corp boosted their cost estimates for a planned line to carry Alaska gas to southern markets by up to 58 percent on Friday, as the two ready plans to sign up shippers for the massive project.

The companies said the cost of the 1,700 mile pipeline carrying at least 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas daily from Alaska’s North Slope to Alberta will range between $32 billion and $41 billion, up from a previous $26 billion forecast.

The line, mulled for more than a generation, would be among the largest and most expensive civil engineering projects ever undertaken in North America, requiring years of planning and construction and massive financing.

No matter how you measure it, the Alaska Pipeline Project would be an exceptional world leading project and one of the largest private investments in the history of North America,” Paul Pike, Exxon Mobil’s senior project manager for the line, said on a conference call.

For Alaska, which depends on oil for nearly all its state operating revenues, a natural gas pipeline is seen as economically crucial. North Slope oil production has dwindled to a third of the 2 million-barrel-a-day peak reached in 1988, and continues to decline.

Some political leaders hailed Friday’s announcement as a big step toward reaching the gas pipeline goal.

Bringing Alaska’s gas to market presents a tremendous economic opportunity for the state,” Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said in a statement. “Alaskans have waited 30 years to advance this project, and today’s news marks a significant milestone in achieving this opportunity.”

A smaller line, running from the gas fields of the North Slope to a separately built liquefied natural gas facility near Valdez, Alaska, would cost between $20 billion and $26 billion and could be built instead of the larger project if shippers chose the option.

The backers said their cost estimate rose over initial projections because of an extension of the line to the Point Thomson field on Alaska’s North Slope, an expanded gas-processing plant and more detailed engineering than first available.

OPEN SEASON PLANNED

The new estimate for the lines, which could be in service by 2020, came as the partners filed plans with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to hold an open season to attract potential shippers.

This open season will test potential customers’ interest in utilizing the Alaska Pipeline Project to transport their natural gas to market,” said Tony Palmer, TransCanada’s vice-president of Alaska development.

Calgary-based TransCanada is the state of Alaska’s preferred pipeline sponsor and holder of a state license under the Alaska Gasoline Inducement Act (AGIA).

It added U.S. energy major Exxon Mobil, one of the three major North Slope natural gas producers, as a partner to its proposal last year. The other two producers, BP Plc and ConocoPhillips are backing a rival pipeline plan of their own and Exxon itself has yet to commit its gas to the line.

However the two partners expect that they’ve squeezed the cost for shippers down, making their proposal attractive. They plan to a 20 percent capital risk in the project, reducing the costs needed to be covered by customers by between $6 billion and $8 billion.

As well, they’ve cut their planned return on equity to 12 percent instead of the 14 percent return TransCanada had forecast in its AGIA filing.

Including those cuts and other smaller factors, the partners expect shippers who commit during the open season will pay $500 million less per year on tolls than forecast in the AGIA application.

Assuming that FERC approves our plan as filed, and … the customers commit their gas in that initial open season, they will see lower tariffs,” Palmer said. “They will see lower tolls to their account on the order of $500 million per year.”

Still, the rival Denali project, backed by BP and Conoco, is going ahead as planned, with its own open season scheduled to launch in April.

I am confident that we will have an attractive commercial offer for our potential customers,” said Bud Fackrell, Denali’s president. “Today’s announcement by TransCanada and Exxon doesn’t change anything for us. We’re on track.”

TransCanada has offered BP and Conoco an equity stake in its project, saying the support of all three producers, as well as the state, is needed before its project proceeds. However negotiations with the rival producers have yet to take place .

TransCanada and Exxon filed plans for the open season with FERC, which has 90 days to approve the proposal. A separate open season will be staged for the Canadian portion of the line.

Along with Governor Parnell’s positive reaction to the news, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski added:

This marks the first time Alaska has seen a major producer come together with a pipeline company to solicit binding commitments for the transport and delivery of North Slope natural gas to markets in the Lower 48.

The bottom line is this. While there is still some work to be done, Sarah Palin, as well as her capable administration, and the folks at TransCanada and Exxon-Mobil prove the point that private-sector, free market solutions to major issues just make sense.

The fact that this is a viable project, and a solid approach, is underscored by the existence of a competing project in the mix. In the end, everyone will benefit from this competition.

Once again Sarah Palin proves to be a visionary leader who uses common sense solutions to complex issues. Energy independence is both an economic and a national security issue. With the economy in a slump, and wages stagnant, a good reliable supply of cheap, clean, and green natural gas is essential. Using our own resources, rather than enriching nations, and leaders who may not like us very much, is vital.

This is something Sarah Palin has been talking about for years, and unlike most, has used her leadership qualities and negotiation skills to actually make something happen. This is what true leadership is all about.

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