Thursday, December 10, 2009

Larry Persily

From Politico:
The White House announced Wednesday that one of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s vocal home-state critics has been nominated for a federal position in Alaska.

Larry Persily, whom the Obama administration has chosen to serve as federal coordinator for Alaska natural gas transportation projects, was an official in the administrations of Alaska Govs. Tony Knowles, a Democrat, and Frank Murkowski, a Republican, before Palin appointed him to serve in her Washington office.

During the 2008 presidential election, Persily emerged as an outspoken opponent of Palin’s vice presidential candidacy. Immediately after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) chose Palin as his running mate, Persily told Bloomberg News: “She’s not qualified; she doesn’t have the judgment to be next in line to the president of the United States.”

A former journalist, Persily currently works as an aide to Alaska state Rep. Mike Hawker, a Republican.

The White House release announcing Persily’s nomination emphasized his experience working with both parties: “Mr. Persily is known statewide for his bipartisan credentials — he has worked for Democrats and Republicans — and his knowledge on oil and gas matters, particularly the history of the 40-year effort to develop a North Slope natural gas pipeline.”
Hmmmm...... I'm not sure if this is Palin-related, or if they're just hiring someone they agree with ideologically who has also had experience with Alaska oil and gas issues. Governor Palin had many political enemies in Alaska, some were scumbags and others just disagreed. Persily works as an aide to Mike Hawker, a known Palin enemy, so that's all I really need to know. He also served under Murkowski, which should tell you again all you need to know. But to avoid a total knee-jerk reaction, I've dug deeper.

Andrew Halcro promoted Persily for this position just last month. He suggested Persily to Mark Begich. From Andrew

November 17, 2009: There is but one name that Alaska Senator Mark Begich should forward to President Barack Obama to become the head of the Office of Federal Coordinator for Alaska's natural gas pipeline; Larry Persily.

In 2005, the position of Federal Coordinator was created by Congressional action to coordinate activities by federal agencies with respect to the permitting and construction of a pipeline to bring North Slope gas to markets in the Lower 48.

The Office of the Federal Coordinator is an independent office within the executive branch that reports directly to the White House.

Since 2006, the position has been filled by former Alaska State Senator Drue Pearce who was appointed by then President George W. Bush. Yesterday, at the request of President Obama, Pearce resigned her post creating an opening in the top spot of the agency.

Persily's lengthy experience in oil and gas issues along with his intimate knowledge of Alaska's natural gas pipeline makes him not just the top choice, but the only choice. His former roles both in government finance along with a stint as the state's oil & gas guy in D.C. and his years in the publishing industry covering Alaska's oil & gas issues make him eminently qualified.

In appointing Persily, President Obama will get a coordinator who is smart, honest and not afraid to speak his mind about the true progress of Alaska's next economic great hope.

It was Persily, in his role as the former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News who warned of delays ahead if former governor Sarah Palin's AGIA pipeline strategy was passed into law......

Persily knows his stuff.

He knew it then...and after three years of screwing around with AGIA, we know it now.

Senator Begich, it's time to bring in the closer from the bullpen.

Okay, so Persily obviously disagreed with Palin's approach to get the gasline. Here's the thing on the pipeline: we won't know until after 2010. TransCanada has been given the go-ahead by the state to build the line. But they're not going to build a line until after the open season which will be in the summer of 2010. The open season is where all the different producers and other players in the industry will come to the table and do some hard-core negotiating. And nobody knows how that will turn out. If things go well, gasline. If things don't, we're right back where we started.

Now, AGIA (the legislation the state passed that gave TransCanada the license to build the line) originally had tax guarantees in it for the oil companies for ten years. The companies had wanted more like forty or fifty years, but the state said, "No way." The administration recognized though that industry does need some predictability, so they put in a ten year rate guarantee.

However, the legislature took it out because of questions of constitutionality, which I think was bogus. The administration signed it because it had everything else and that matter could always be revisited. In order to get a line, the state will probably have to revisit AGIA and put back in some sort of tax guarantee or structure so that the companies know what they're getting into.

The process is far from over. Any judgment of AGIA is, in my opinion, premature. Any number of things could go right or wrong before the final deals are struck. Not to mention that after the industry works it out, then they have apply for permits, etc.....

I hate to break it to Halcro, but this sort of thing doesn't happen overnight.

So, if someone has a problem with AGIA, I don't fault them for it, but I think they rush to judgment. We have no idea yet if it will work or not. It has brought the state closer than it's ever been before, but a project like this is complicated and it will take at least a couple more years before we know for sure.

Oh, and Andrew Halcro has been a Palin-hater since the dawn of time. He cooked up all this crazy stuff about Troopergate, and he hangs out with the likes of Shannyn Moore. I say, a pox on all of them, but that's just me.

Persily came out against Palin's candidacy for Vice-President. He claimed that she was unqualified, which is ridiculous. I mean, have you seen our current Vice-President? A mushroom could be VP; it's basically a do-nothing job.

Alaska's Congressional delegation has welcomed the appointment. Alaskans tend to present a united front to the rest of the country, despite the fact that they fight like cats and dogs amongst themselves. Hey, nobody else sticks up for them; they've got to take care of their own. Well, except when it comes to their former Governor.

I question Larry's judgment when he rushes to condemn AGIA, when, as I've stated, it's still far too premature to determine whether or not the project will work. It's dependent now on the open season and on whether or not the Alaska legislature gets a clue. Those are things that are now beyond Palin's control.

Persily, I believe, is probably a good choice for the Obama administration, from their perspective. He is someone who does have extensive experience with the oil and gas industry, he knows the players in Alaska politics, and he seems to be a business-as-usual kind of guy, not to mention he is a self-described Chicago Democrat. He has said that he is committed to getting the gas pipeline, so we'll see if he tries to aid AGIA in its success, or if he continues to try to poo-poo it and see it fail.

But fact that he's been an anti-Palin contributor over at the Huffington Post gives me huge pause.

Articles from the Free Republic and Newsbusters on Persily.

Persily on Hardball:

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