Saturday, October 25, 2008


That's often what you get when you make an impulse buy and that seems to be exactly what Sarah Palin was for McCain. The reports of a split between Granpa and Caribou have now spread to CNN and from there they will spread further. On top of this internal mess, Caribou's big energy story - the gas pipeline - also seems to be blowing up.

AP INVESTIGATION: Palin pipeline terms curbed bids
Oct 25 08:20 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment—a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48—emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Despite Palin's boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp.

And contrary to the ballyhoo, there's no guarantee the pipeline will ever be built; at a minimum, any project is years away, as TransCanada must first overcome major financial and regulatory hurdles.

In interviews and a review of records, the AP found:

_Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group—the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas.

_Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.

_The leader of Palin's pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman's former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada's lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal, interacting with legislators in the weeks before the vote to grant TransCanada the contract. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin's pipeline team.

_Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.

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