Search This Blog

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alaska where at least the air is clean

I have been in Alaska for the last week, the scene of the triumphs of US Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's two years of experience in executive office.

Its a fantastic place to visit but there aren't many people in this neck of the backwoods: about 600,000 all up, 300,000 of those in Anchorage and 30,000 in the state capital, Juneau- about the size of Goulburn NSW which is the height of sophistication by comparison.

In the light of Palin's statements that she plans to "clean up "Washington if elected, its worth noting that the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Better Government Association gave Alaska (along with 37 other states) a Fail grade on Freedom of Information in a report released earlier this year. Alaska ranked third last of the 50 states based on criteria that assessed the law and the way it operates.

Here is a report from the Anchorage Daily News this week about the open secret that the tech savvy Governor uses a personal email address to conduct state business on some otherwise incovenient occassions

A simmering issue reported by a local paper this week highlighted an issue on which Palin disagrees with McCain and the current Republican administration in Washington, and incidentally raised an FOI matter.

"One area where Palin may be embarrassed on the national level is her administration's challenge and lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior for listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Basically the state challenged the basic science in the global-warming debate and the models that showed shrinkage of the polar icecap, the prime polar bear habitat. In making the decision to oppose the polar bear listing, Palin acted against the advice of scientists in the state Department of Fish and Game who were working with federal marine mammal scientists in drafting the proposed listing of the polar bears.What could also embarrass Palin is that her position on polar bears puts Alaska at odds with the majority of scientists and governments around the world on global warming and at a time when Alaska is also seeking federal funds to offset problems of coastal erosion in rural villages, which is largely blamed on climate change."

As reported here the Alaska Department of Fish and Game refused a Freedom of Information application for the advice on which the Government's decision to oppose listing was based, but a summary disclosed in response to a Fedearal FOI application was enough to show the claim that scietific opinion supported the move was a lie. The initial estimate of the charges for the unsuccessful Alaskan application was in excess of $US500,000.

Palin has put some life into the 72 year old McCain's campaign image. Only in America could you imagine that "likeability" of the no.2 on the ticket could give a presidential campaign such a boost.The big question is whether it can it last when she faces the inevitable questions about her record and views?

No comments:

Post a Comment