Palin’s Phantom Pipeline Steals $500 Million from Taxpayers

Sarah Palin makin' things up and costing you money
Sarah Palin makin' things up and costing you money


Sure you knew she was annoying, but did you know she was costing us hundreds of millions of dollars?

During her RNC speech as Republican VP candidate Palin claimed, “I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.”

And during the vice-presidential debate, Palin made this claim again: “we’re building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline — which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever — to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.”

And here’s where our story of grift, graft and greed begins.

During the campaign, The New York Times reported that the reality of the project was “far more ambiguous than the impression Ms. Palin has left at the convention and on the campaign trail.” This is because the contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 existed only on paper. There is no pipeline. There never was.

Not only has the pipeline not been built, but as Palin’s signifying “accomplishment” during her brief time as Governor was written — the bill Palin championed to such an extent it was often referred to as the Palin Pipeline — left the state vulnerable to losing over 500 million dollars. Or should I say, it left us vulnerable to paying over 500 million dollars because Palin thought that the US Federal Government should shoulder all the financial risks of AGIA while writing a contract that guarantees profit for the private corporation (or Alaska will pay damages). Sort of like those bail outs Palin’s followers so object to, wherein we taxpayers subsidize the risk and the private company gets to take the profit. Palin’s signature achievement was to shell out 500 million dollars of our money for a bad idea, conceived mostly out of arrogance and widely criticized at the time as being wildly flawed.

According to the Juneau Empire, the bill was so poorly conceived that the state was urged to cut it losses at the time by former state petroleum economist Roger Marks, who said, “State leaders made faulty assessments in their quest to land the long-sought pipeline project.”

On August 27, 2008, Palin signed AGIA (Alaska Gasline Inducement Act) into law awarding Canadian energy company TransCanada a license and 500 million dollars as an incentive to someday build and operate the $26-billion pipeline to transport natural gas from the North Slope. A license. That’s all. If the project isn’t built, the state could be beholden to TransCanada for treble damages.

Not only were there rumblings about Palin’s connections with TransCanada and accusations that the bidding process had been tainted by Palin’s interaction with TransCanada during the process, but said accusations resulted in an AP investigation which determined that a flawed bidding process had existed that narrowed the field to a company with ties to Palin’s administration.

But just as Palin built a Sports Complex in Wasilla on land the city did not hold title to, the state of Alaska did not have any guarantee that they could bring gas through Canada to the lower 48. Furthermore, BP and ConocoPhillips own the leases in Alaska, not TransCanada, to whom the Palin administration awarded the contract. In other words, this contract never guaranteed the delivery of natural gas to US markets.

The Phantom Palin Pipeline
The Phantom Palin Pipeline

In fact, this contract never even addressed how the gas would get to the lower 48. The gas might be sold to China. It might be sold to Canada, if they were willing to pay more money for it. So in no way was this ever intended to be an energy solution for America. It was intended to make money for Alaska while the US taxpayer footed the bill. $18 Billion was appropriated as part of the Alaskan Natural Gas Pipeline Act of 2004 and more funds and loan guarantees will need to be committed if the pipeline is ever to be built. That’s in addition to the bail-out of TransCanada should the contract not proceed. It should be noted that all energy seems to get such perks — but why then the complaints when Democrats want to subsidize alternative energy? Palin refers to alternative energy subsidies as all kinds of threatening baloney, knowing full well that she is the Queen of subsidizing private energy corporations but she doesn’t have the excuse that it was for America’s energy needs. It was never for America. That “delivery to hungry markets” mantra was just as opaque as “drill, baby, drill”.

I believe this is one of those “Bail Outs” the Tea Party keeps screaming about.

The main problem with AGIA, however, is that producers have long held that “unreliable tax terms” (that would be Palin’s windfall profit taxes which are based on profit and hence impossible for producers to calculate in advance) kept them from pursuing a pipeline before AGIA was even introduced.

Cut to today: Open season on the bidding to build the project has closed, and there are no bids. The Parnell administration (for all intents and purposes, Palin administration, as he is carrying on the rest of her first term after she quit unexpectedly mid term) is trying to spin this into a win, suggesting that negotiations are ongoing, but not having to negotiate with the oil companies was the entire purpose of AGIA.

Andrew Halco reports:

“Most likely, TransCanada’s Palmer said, the bids will be conditional, leading to protracted negotiations. Bidders might ask for an ownership stake in the pipeline as a condition, or special tax breaks from the state. Or he said, they might want TransCanada to be responsible for construction cost overruns instead of seeing those extra costs added to transportation charges. According to several dozen quotes on the issue from administration officials over the last three years that were chronicled on countless blogs, AGIA’s must haves were supposed to be met without debate to protect the state.”

Palin’s big claim, the entire point of AGIA, was, “We’re not negotiating.”

Sounds familiar, eh?

AGIA was a part of Palin’s hubristic and simplistic idea of how the world works. She thought she could march in and tell the oil and gas companies how they were going to do business in Alaska, and while she was at it, she lobbied a huge windfall profit tax on them. It was part of her image of herself as a tough, Alaska first kinda gal. And it’s a charming idea.

It’s the kind if idea that makes it possible to understand why Palin was so appealing to people before they got to look under the hood. She was gonna make those oil companies pay. We’d all like to see that. The problem is that actual governing is not that simple and good or even reasonable legislation is a difficult to craft once everyone has weighed in on a subject.

It turned out that Palin was just as corrupt as the guy before her; she was just a better salesman. Not only was she corrupt, but also she made Bush look like he had a PhD in policy with her Rovian bulldozer approach to governing. And lastly, Palin billing herself as a fiscal conservative is not only disingenuous, it’s a disgraceful misrepresentation of reality. According to the ADN, “In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation, although she has cut, by more than half, the amount the state sought from Washington this year.”

Alaska could have to bail out TransCanada to the tune of $400 million to $2 billion. And when I say Alaska, I mean America. And by America, I mean the American taxpayer. That’s fiscal conservatism, Republican style. We pay a lot of money so they can lie about their accomplishments. Meanwhile, they moan about the deficit every time a Democrat tries to save the economy from the Republicans’ fiscally disastrous leadership.

Every time Palin goes on Fox News to allege that Obama is a socialist, try not to remember that she just fleeced us out of over 500 million dollars and we still don’t know what kind of kick backs, if any, she got for awarding the contract to TransCanada. But we do know that she padded her resume with millions, if not billions, of our tax dollars. We’re out at least 500 million and we’re back to square one in trying to get natural gas to the lower 48.

Pony up, people. Palin has another lie to sell you. Think of it as the Sarah Palin Bail Out.

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69 Replies to “Palin’s Phantom Pipeline Steals $500 Million from Taxpayers”

  1. Hey now folks, lighten up a little. She’s just showing she is a true Reaganite.

    This is where the rhetoric meets the road and it’s an awful mess.

    Seriously, great story, Sarah. A nice expose on what Sarah Palin is really about.

  2. Try to hold in your shock:-) What is truly appalling is how the media allowed these misrepresentations to stand, and how they still allow them to stand unchallenged. I’ll grant you that since Palin is too scared to take interviews with anyone other than her employer of Fox News, it’s a new kind of challenge to report on her, but a little research and a willingness to pursue the truth would be most appreciated by Americans footing the bill.

  3. There is no end to how much this makes me smile. Sadly, she will post something of Facebook about this and all of the Palinbots will swallow it like they do with every other tid-bit of misinformation that comes out of Faux, Palin, or WorldnetDaily.

  4. I wonder how the tea party people will take this? Ignore it? Will bachmann hang herself in the closet?

    Better, Sarah, please come to the debates cause you are gonna get ripped and exposed from inside out.

  5. Awesome article Sarah! Love this:
    Every time Palin goes on Fox News to allege that Obama is a socialist, try not to remember that she just fleeced us out of over 500 million dollars”
    And I had heard that the path of the “pipeline 2 nowhere” was going over Canada’s First Peoples land and it would take years and $$$$ to fight in court!
    This is just one of Sarah’s debacles…but since she made this the “showcase” of her speech in the RNC and the book “SarahPalin takes on Big oil” lalalalalalaa!
    Be will will here *Crickets* from her on this! After all she took the $ and ran, like usual…

  6. Outstanding post, Sarah Jones!

    You really summed it up perfectly with: “AGIA was a part of Palin’s hubristic and simplistic idea of how the world works.” Add in “ethical flexibility with an eye toward self-interest,” and you have Palin in a nutshell.

    I’d still like to know how she managed to slither out of the TC bidding rigging questions.

  7. Ok I some things to add first the spill in Minnesota was done on an Enbridge Inc pipeline why does this matter Enbridge farms out it repair of pipelines to the company it holds 15% stock in that right TransCanada. In fact, Enbridge is poised to buy TransCanada, why does this matter there is a history of both companies of not repairing the pipelines they control all the way back in 1982 the same pipeline blew out and flooded the Minnesota river with oil the same way it blew out two months ago roughly in the same area. The lack of over sight of these companies from the state level to the federal level is appalling and this is just the latest in a long line of kickbacks, and skullduggery to get pipelines like the one in Minnesota and the future ones in ND, IL, and NB. With the Palin reach around hopefully the US citizens will wake up and realize that all these companies are doing is polluting our soil and stealing our money.

  8. I’ve read in the comment section on different forums questions as to why Palin is not endorsing Parnell and I think the failure of AGIA could possibly be the reason. As unlikely as it may seem, it is definitely in the realm of possibility that $arah is going to blame the death of AGIA on Sean Parnell. Of course, up until this point any of his successes have been due to his carrying out HER administration’s ideas and plans. This failure will get to belong to Parnell alone. Why has she not endorsed someone whose praises she sang? Is it because she’s afraid of another losing endorsement, since Miller’s campaign appears to be all but over with his polling 32% to Murkowski’s 69%? She hasn’t backed Eddie Burke who kissed her ass numerous times while in office, could it be because she recognizes him for the racist jerk that he is? Not likely. She’s afraid of these losses and what they pose for a future campaign for her, giving her primary opponents even more ammunition and this being much more current so she cannot explain it away as “having grown since then”. Poor $arah, how are your ‘bots going to spin this way at Cons4Quitters? They always try, no matter how delusional their answers may be.

    But, $arah, didn’t you say this pipeline was already started while you were campaigning for V.P.? How to explain them stopping in the middle of it or letting folks know that you were lying through your teeth when you said you had begun the pipeline? This is going to be a problem for you as long as you’re in the public eye, how to explain all the lies you’ve told when confronted in regards to them. After all, they are far too numerous to count.

  9. Interesting….

    Palin jeopardizes 500 million on a oil pipe line and this is unacceptable.

    Obama jeopardizes 50 billion on 1 car company and this is hailed as saving the world.

    For every 1 dollar Palin spends Obama spends 100.

  10. All I see are “could”, “maybe” and speculation. Typical liberal spin.

    As for bail outs, you’re whining about 750,000,000? When anyone even approaches the 1,700,000,000,000 that the libodems have spent in just one year, then maybe others will notice. No money was actually spent yet on this project. Obama has already flushed 3,400,000,000,000 down the toilet. Nice comparison.

  11. Please proofread your articles before posting them. There are so many glaring typos and errors that it discredits you.

  12. Grift, graft and greed? I’m sorry. I don’t see it. This article says a lot about Palin trying to get things for Alaska, not herself. I know it’s fashionable to mock and deride everything this woman does (and it feels darn good, too, doesn’t it?) But, truthfully, do you really need to stretch this topic so thinly that, if it were a penny, it’d be heads on both sides. Call her unfit for service, if you want. Call her a poor speaker and even an lesser politician. But to use words like ‘grift, graft and greed’ implies thievery and no one here actually believes the woman’s a crook. We’ll just leave that to Charlie Rangel. Have a great day!

  13. It’s not much, and a small start, but it hows that the USA is finally treating us (Canadians) right, rather than raping us, like usual.

    And to think that I thought Palin was useless until I read this…

  14. Well done, Sarah Jones — an excellently researched and presented expose on an under-reported subject. Ms. Palin is such a ludicrously easy target that we often overlook the great damage that she’s done to her state and our nation. This post brings one facet of that damage back into focus.
    BTW, you know you’ve hit pay-dirt when the ‘Pubes start whining about your punctuation!

  15. I guess you overlooked the part about the AP investigation into her improper dealings with TransCanada during the contract bidding term. But perhaps you, like George W Bush, think no bid contracts are ethical.

  16. There is no end to how much this makes me smile. Sadly, she will post something of Facebook about this and all of the Palinbots will swallow it like they do with every other tid-bit of misinformation that comes out of Faux, Palin, or WorldnetDaily.

  17. Such as? Crickets.

    I read on DailyPUMA that they are sending people here to “review” mean, horrible Sarah Jones for writing the truth about $arah Payme. You’re supposed to tell us what you think about the author. LOL. If this is your idea of a review, you should probably go back to grammar school.

  18. Nice way to change the subject, the article is about Sarah Palin, not the Bush mess that Obama had to clean up. I know we use some big words here, so why don’t you stick to Fox News, where the truth, facts, and honesty don’t matter. There was no spin in that piece, but perhaps you are so brainwashed and can’t think for yourself and that anything that disagrees with what your weak mind has been told to believe is beyond your comprehension . Please be quiet, Fred. The adults are trying to talk.

  19. Does anyone else notice that the palinistas who leave critcisms never back their claims up, but just expect to refute facts with unsubstantiated criticisms? I mean, refudiate. Lol. Go back to sea of pee where you belong!

  20. This story came out when she was running with McCain. The fact is, not in so much detail. It was said the pipeline would probably never be built. And they brought up her support for the Stevenson bridge to no where. Even though she later denied having supported the money for that bridge in Alaska.

    The problem is with the media that does not do it’s job. For the last ten years they have decided not to delve deeply into anything but the death of Micheal Jackson, Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton or Mel Gibson. This lazy and lack of will to do any objective work is why our so called free press has fallen from number one to number 23rd in the world as of three years ago. The best free press in the world is now in the Netherlands.

    If they had done their job in reporting the lunacy of this publicity hound she would never have been able to muscle her way into our lives. With sound bites and shallow rhetoric and a cute wink, she has managed to build a career with no substance. Nothing is ever her fault. She never admits to a wrong. She has managed to blame everyone but herself for any negative publicity. She has been able to fool the brain dead. She does not need to see Russia from her porch, she can see money. She has what she has always wanted, money and celebrity status.

  21. Now, I am far from a “Palinbot” as one poster awkwardly states while trying to pillory those with a different opinion, but as an independent thinker and seeker of truth I must point out this article is nothing more than bomb-throwing smear. I get a kick out of the posters who call this article “excellently researched” and spew how spot on the article is. These folks delight in consuming the bile of others as long as the regurgitation confirms their own fears and prejudices. Reading the article through the ”’pubes are evil” prism does make the bile tainted kool-aid taste better, I suppose, but it blinds one to the truth that is actually in the article: there is a $500M incentive built into a $26B contract Palin negotiated. That works out to a less than 2% incentive – that’s it. Oh, and the fact that this contract does not put the taxpayer on the hook for the entire $26B cost… gee, that works out to a 98% savings.

    (Note: Edited because a no talent editor was bored).

  22. That is a very intelligent reply, Jason. You are such a great editor.You are my hero. (Note: Post Edited by the editor) :)

  23. If you like paying 500 million and getting nothing in return, then I guess you are also a fan of the million dollars Palin took for the Bridge to Nowhere and never returned. Instead, she built a road to nowhere so she wouldn’t have to return the money, and no one uses it because it literally goes to nowhere.

    Personally, I am a fiscal conservative and I don’t like seeing tax dollars go to waste and I don’t like anyone who makes the most pork requests per capita of any state and then calls herself a conservative and a reformer.

    I also don’t like being on the hook for Palin’s misguided attempt to bully the oil companies who own the leases in Alaska. I am not in favor of having to pay an additional up to 2 billion dollars because Palin irresponsibly signed a widely criticized bill.

  24. If you had read this article, you would know that this article was one of many sources for it. See, here in the real world, we gather information from a variety of sources and fact check them against one another.

    However, posting an entire article of someone else’s work is a violation of internet ethics and for that reason, I am having your post shortened. Anyone who wants to read it can always, of course, go to the link I provided in the article.

  25. It’s not only an ethical violation, but a copyright violation. What you need to do is quote only four paragraphs and give the citation in order to be fair to the author.

    It would be even better if you could cite what you find to be inaccurate in your own words, but from what you posted you seemed to be having a hard time understanding the various money involved and the structure of the contract. I checked the facts with more than five sources, and I even underestimated what we were on the hook for in the interest of fairness.

    I think you’re confusing the money that will be paid out when building began with the money that is paid out just for the license. And after all of that, there is money to be paid out if there are no bids, which there are not. These are the damages I referred to, which are treble damages per the contract, which means they would be around 2 billion dollars. However, I did not state that we were on the necessarily on the hook for this, as if a bid comes through, or if TransCanada can make money at this somehow, they may cut Alaska a break.

    Yes, negotiations can continue — but they will involve the producers asking for tax assurances which the state has refused to give and was the entire reason for AGIA. I also did not mention the Denali project, which has a much larger chance of success and is competing with Palin’s project. If the Denali project goes, we will be on the hook for the damages almost certainly.

  26. What a stupid comment it makes you sound like a idiot.

    GM has almost paid the US Government back while we will not see that 500 mil.
    Secondly that 50 bil. stabilized a industry which was necessary to stop a compounding problem.
    That 500 mil should have been spent in education for your lack of it is obvious.

  27. If someone’s comment is rude or offensive, just remove it. Don’t fill up the entire comments section with passive-aggressive edits. Especially since now it looks like you just edited out a guy who didn’t match with your world view.

    It just looks bad.

  28. And here’s some friendly advice for you: It is super helpful if you read all the words on a page, not just the ones you agree with.

  29. the saddest part is that at this point anybody who still supports her is either too stupid or too delusional to actually listen to any of this with an open mind. It was obvious even before the end of the 2008 election that this woman made Bush look like a brain surgeon and yet people still think she’s a good leader. I fear there is little hope for this nation as long as people like her are taken seriously.

  30. I did indeed read all the words on the page, that’s the problem. It’s a good article, but the prose that strayed toward op-ed combined with all the edited comments detracts from the actual facts that are being put on display.

    Ms. Jones’ is mostly preaching to the choir here, but you don’t change minds by reveling in it (it being..the uh, mind-changing). Which is why I suggested just deleting comments if they are in fact offensive, because currently it looks like Mr. Editor just came through and nixed stuff he didn’t want to see.

  31. What a complete bunch of asses.

    No one including Sarah Palin sait “THE PIPELINE WAS BUILT ”
    period. The negations are currently ongoing. Read the Damned news idiots. GM has not paid back most of the loan. What they paid back was with your money, idiot. Further more they just made a $38,000.00 contribution to the Black Cacus, that is your money as well, idiot. You LEFTY LIBS ARE SO FKING STUPID.
    But I guess it figures STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES. or doesn’t do, like READ and actually UNDERSTAND what they read.

  32. BRAINWASHED that’s a compliment. You Obamanuts do not have brains, otherwise you wouldn’t post or think the trash you do.

  33. Learn to read dumbass, you have not a clue of the good she done, mainly because you don’t want to. What morons.

  34. Bullcrap, you lefty wing nuts don’t provide any proof of you stupid statements.
    Makes you look really stupid to someone that actually reads, except other wingnuts and ObamaLoons

  35. Haha — Good one:-) But you know the Repubs are anti education, after all, if their base stopped watching Faux who would vote for them?

  36. So you are pretending she didn’t say the quotes in the beginning of this article? LOL. You guys sure are desperate. Too bad about those you tubes.

  37. As in, “She was exonerated of Troopergate”? LOL. Another time she sold you guys a load of lies and you keep parroting it.

  38. Boy, you are sure a classy one:-) The Palin fan club is out after dark — watch out. Swear words and lies and propaganda galore.

  39. i think he got rid of posts that violated terms of service and used swear words, but it looks like he put a filter on now because this last guy who left swear words has a bunch of asterisks but his comment is still there. In case you don’t know, this site has been targeted by the Right wing so there’ve been some really ugly comments and some of the regulars begged Jason to put an end to the nasty comments and ban people.

  40. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, doesn’t anyone NOT know why she’s no longer a politician and on Fox New’s dime to say what they tell her to?


    The good she’s done IS resign, unfortunately. Too bad that sword’s got two edges now that she gets more dollars than you to spout bullshit for you to eat up and be merry.

    GG, neo-cons. G fucking G.

  41. Sarah, this article summarizes all of the qualities that made Palin a lousy governor and would make her an even lousier choice as a national leader, especially a president. Your descriptions of her world view as “hubristic” and “simplistic” hit the nail on the head, and this debacle should be brought up every time she continues to badmouth the president’s policies as “socialistic.”

  42. I believe Palin is the most amazing person in U.S. history considering the amount of support and appeal she has from groups such as the Tea Party who seem unimpressed by her intellectual inadequacy. If anyone should get credit for her success it should be the gang at Fox News and The Weekly Standard who duplicated the role they played in giving us W. Bush who possessed most the same flaws as does Sarah Palin. Why would they support such people you might ask? Simply because they can easily manipulate people who lacked knowing history, civics, etc. It was not surprising the as soon as Palin got the nomination Senator Joe Lieberman took he to visit his friends to be updated on what was going on outside Alaska. (Sort of like you see the ads selling courses for students to pass tests!!)

  43. I know. I feel the exact same way. And now her little followers are so brain washed they are paid to go to websites and pretend they aren’t Palin fans and then leave positive Palin comments. As if they just so happen to be part of that 27 percent of non-Republicans who don’t fear Palin’s ignorance.

    Rove must love this woman.

  44. I’m torn. While I can agree with Friendly Advice, the editing does look kinda tacky, on the other hand, it made me laugh.

    I guess it doesn’t bother me because the first few posts seem to have been left unedited, so we can see the mindless gist and how we’re being spared additional idiocy.

    I’m clearly overthinking this. So bored…

  45. I think calling her views “simplistic” is giving her too much credit. Mad Magazine is “simplistic”, she’s dealing in pure bumpersticker…

    If the woman can’t even handle Katie Couric, how’s she gonna handle Achmadinejad? By hiding out under Sean Hannity’s desk? Seriously, anyone who thinks she is presidential material has more than one slice short of a loaf. (cue halfassed Obama comparisons from the Palin bots. C’mon, you know you want to)

  46. Its not in Palinese….”Ril” “EyeDil” etc. designwallah can’t understand perfect English.

  47. They always try to justify their support of her by manufacturing a patently false equivalency between President Obama and half-term governor Palin. To this day, there are Palin bots who reiterate the nonsense that she had more executive experience than he did back in 2008, as if that would mean anything in August 2010 nearly 2 years later even if it had been true then.

    She cannot handle interviews outside of her FOX-created bubble, and she is saying exactly the same stupid things she said in 2008. These facts, added to the truth of her actual record as Alaska’s governor, should have dispelled any notion that she has any business in national office. This article captures the essence of her incompetence as a governor, and should definitely be a campaign issue if she is foolish enough to run for the presidency.

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