Republican National Convention

ST. PAUL — The most common headline or lead for stories about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech last night was that she “electrified” the arena. Watching from our perch in the rafters we have to agree: Palin sent the energy in the Excel Center through the roof. For all the attacks from liberal media commentators this week, Palin proved to the nation that when it comes to the most important issue in this election, energy, she has experience and results in spades.

The left says it wants to reduce American dependence on foreign energy, but many of them continue to demonstrate outright ignorance on the issue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, appears to be completely unaware that natural gas is a fossil fuel that requires drilling. Barack Obama is slightly better. He says he wants to drill for more gas and he says he wants to build a natural gas pipeline from Alasaka, but he never has actually done anything to make these dreams a reality. Palin’s record is different.

For years former-Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski tried to strike a deal with the major oil companies to construct a new natural gas pipeline. After Palin defeated Murkowski, she bypassed the oil companies entirely and struck a much better deal for the taxpayers with North America’s largest pipeline operator, TransCanada, a Calgary-based company. The pipeline is set to be completed by 2018 and will give Americans access to 35 trillion cubic feet of gas that need to be drilled from Alaska’s North Slope. The pipeline will ship 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day, through Canada, to U.S. markets. That represents about 7% of current U.S. demand. This pipeline will lower American consumer energy bills. As Palin said last night: “Families cannot throw away more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil.”

Energy is not just an economic issue. It is also a key foreign policy issue, and Palin demonstrated she has a firm grasp on the relation between the two:

The stakes for our nation could not be higher. When a hurricane strikes in the Gulf of Mexico, this country should not be so dependent on imported oil that we are forced to draw from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies … or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia … or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries … we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we’ve got lots of both.

The U.S. has even more natural gas off of our nation’s coasts. Pelosi and Obama are fighting to keep 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off limits from production. Obama’s support for the Alaska pipeline exposes the left’s hypocrisy on this issue. The left says we can’t drill in the OCS because it will take the oil and gas five to 10 years to reach the market. But Obama’s favored pipeline won’t be finished until 2018. Applying his own logic evenly, he should be fighting against, not for, the Alaska gas pipeline.

Developing our domestic energy resources is not the only solution to meeting U.S. energy needs. We also need to remove regulatory burdens on nuclear power and facilitate basic research on renewable energy. Palin showed she understands this, too: “Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems — as if we all didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.”

Quick Hits: