ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Sarah Palin hit the vice presidential campaign trail last year and touted what Alaska could provide for the rest of America -- a natural gas pipeline to help lead the country to energy independence.
When a pipeline might be built remains a giant question for Alaskans who need the project to support a vulnerable economy and for the Lower 48 states that need the gas. But an expert who spent more than 25 years in the Alaska Department of Revenue says it may never happen under Palin's plan.
Petroleum economist Roger Marks said Palin's proposal used faulty accounting to reach the flawed conclusion that a pipeline owned by a third-party would be more profitable than one owned by major gas producers, who must be on board for any project to be successful. He wrote in an industry journal last month that her plan discourages big gas producers' participation and may even hinder a more financially viable project.
But Palin's replacement, Gov. Sean Parnell, remains committed to her plan. Marks' former boss, Revenue Commissioner Pat Galvin, says Marks' perspective was thoroughly analyzed and "found to be without merit."
Well, at least they included the administration's response.
The open season for the final determining of how this pipeline thing is going to play out isn't until next summer. Here's a novel idea: How about we stop this fruitless speculation and wait and see?