Friday, August 29, 2008

Mining, oil & gas, evolution, are suddenly hot political topics

The selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice president candidate is suddenly making hot political issues out of mining, oil and gas, and teaching evolution. Emails and blogs started pouring out almost as soon as the announcement was made.

For example, mining columnist Jack Caldwell, who blogs at "I Think Mining" is being widely quoted for his post that "This is about to become the most exciting election ever. And mining issues may well be central."

The energy industry is abuzz this week because Gov. Palin just a few days ago signed a bill authorizing the state to award a license to Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. to build a $27 billion, 1,715- mile (2,744-kilometer) pipeline to carry 4.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Prudhoe Bay to the Alberta Hub in Canada and then on to U.S. markets.

Under its license agreement with the state, TransCanada will get a $500 million subsidy in return for seeking federal regulatory approval for the project and finding customers for the pipeline. The license doesn't guarantee construction of the project. Competitors for the license were ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP.

Gov. Palin is chair this year of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC). Arizona is a member and AZGS is the state contact with IOGCC because we provide support to Arizona's oil and gas commission. A couple hours after the VP announcement, I got an extensive bio of Gov. Palin from IOGCC along with a video clip of her speech to IOGCC this spring.

A few minutes later, a colleague from the evolution battles in Kansas forwarded a clip from the Anchorage Daily News during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign which reported, "The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor's race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state's public classrooms." This is now flying around the blogosphere in the science and science education communities.

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