Thursday, December 10, 2009

Understanding Sarah Palin's History & Claims

There has been a lot of talk about Sarah Palins' office on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as if it gave her some expertise in the area of "energy". Let's get to the truth of the matter.

Sarah Palin was given the position of "Public Officer" on the AOGCC in February of 2003. Her office was that of a commissioner, but she was the "Ethics Supervisor". She held that office until she quit on January 23, 2004, so she did not even last a full year on the job.

For a good explanation of what she did while on the job, the Anchorage Daily News did an article on 11/19/2004 (it was later reprinted) titled:

Palin explains her actions in Ruedrich case

One excerpt from the article is as follows:

It was a far cry from the job she expected in February 2003 when she became the "public member" of the AOGCC -- the seat reserved under Alaska law for a nontechnical commissioner. Murkowski appointed Ruedrich as the petroleum engineer commissioner, while Dan Seamount, a holdover from the Knowles administration with experience in the coal bed methane industry of the Rocky Mountain West, was the geologist commissioner.

The commission and its 21 staff members usually labor in obscurity unless they are responding to a serious oil-well accident or violation. Founded in territorial days and modeled after commissions in other oil states, the AOGCC is a regulatory board charged with protecting public resources when oil or gas is developed.

The AOGCC has three basic functions: to ensure that producing oil and gas fields achieve maximum recovery; to ensure that wells are safely constructed and operated; and to protect groundwater when oil and gas wells pass through aquifers or when drilling wastes are legally disposed underground.

The commission's structure has been relatively unchanged since 1978, when it was split from the Department of Natural Resources at the start of Prudhoe Bay production to insulate it from the pressures of the agency that's supposed to promote development, according to the AOGCC's official history.

It also goes on to state that;

But though she carried the title "ethics supervisor" over the AOGCC and chaired the commission, she said she had little authority over the other two commissioners, who serve six-year terms and can only be fired for cause.

So I am truly curious how she, or anyone can claim that her time on the Commission somehow gives her experience on "energy", considering the article seems to imply that she spent most of her time dealing with ethical issues that had nothing to do with "energy", but with the ethical lapses of Randy Ruedrich, and trying to get that dealt with, not to mention the fact that she did not even stay in the job for a full year.

This is just but one example of how a title seems to be used to give credence to a claim that has no merit behind it.

Another is the statement that Sarah Palin was former Chairperson of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission.

She served in that position for one year. Based on the bylaws:

Article IVOfficers
Section 1. The officers of the Commission are a chairman, a vice-chairman and a second vice-chairman. The chairman must be a Member State governor and the vice chairman and second vice chairmen must be official representatives designated pursuant to Article I, Section 2 of these by-laws. A Chairman-elect for a following year may be designated. All officers shall be elected at each Midyear Meeting to take office during the next Annual Meeting and shall serve until their successors have been elected and assume office. The Nominating Committee shall determine the list of candidates for the elective office and submit all names for the offices to the Commission at the earliest possible time.
Section 2. In the event a vacancy exists in the chairmanship after the election of a chairman-elect at the Midyear Meeting, and before the succeeding Annual Meeting, the chairman-elect shall assume the office of chairman for the remainder of the predecessor's term. Should a vacancy occur after the Annual Meeting, the chairman-elect for the following year shall become chairman. If the offices of vice-chairman, second vice-chairman, vice-chairman-elect or second vice-chairman-elect become vacant, the Commission shall elect a successor at the next regular or other meeting. The Nominating Committee shall submit nominees to the respective governors, official state representatives and alternates at the earliest possible time.
Section 3. An officer shall preside at all meetings, and otherwise perform the duties customarily performed by the chairman of a deliberative body.

Article #4 of Bylaws

The Commission itself has a new chairperson every year, with Gov. Rick Perry being the 2010 Chairperson. The list of past & present Chairman is available here.

So again, another title used to bolster credentials that she does not seem to merit having as there is no known history showing she has every taken part in learning about the ins and outs of the Oil & Gas Industry, or about "Energy" either. Her past knowledge seems to stem from living in a state where Oil & Gas is a large part of their income, but does she have any depth of knowledge on the subject? Titles are one thing, but Mike Huckabee was Chair of the IOGCC as well, and so was AK Gov. Tony Knowles, who was Chairman of the IOGCC for two years in a row, and I have not heard either of them being touted as "Energy Experts".

It does provide some food for thought as to the true qualifications she claims to have vs what she actually has for qualifications based on something more than simply a title.

1 comment:

  1. Her experience re: "energy" is as real as her fifth pregnancy!