Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sarah: Take the Stimulus Money!

America's "pit bull with lipstick," Gov. Sarah Heath Palin of Alaska

Recently, there's been a rumor in "TeamSarah" circles that Sarah Palin was poised not to accept Obama "Stimulus Money" for Alaska infrastructure money. That rumor is false. The Governor is poised to accept such funds, mainly for the state's massive ($40 billion-plus) natural gas pipeline project.

Here's how a friend described the reaction of some TeamSarah members: "There's a rift developing at Team Sarah over this. There was a blog post a couple of days ago in which she was grouped with two other governors (Texas and another Southern state) as the only three who 'refused' money from Obama's stimulus package. The announcement of her accepting funds to develop energy independence has had their heads spinning."

Should she do seek the funding for her state? The answer is: YES. Granted, the Obama "package" is much too large for a nation that doesn't have extra money to dole out for pet projects.

However, the natural gas pipeline will not only benefit the state of Alaska substantially, but also will do the same for "lower-48 states." The huge amounts of natural gas in Alaska, along with vast natural gas resources in the New York-Pennsylvania area provide an essential resource needed to keep the our economy running effectively.

Getting Alaska's natural gas to market will have tremendous tax benefits for Alaska and America as a whole. The taxpayers' money invested will be dwarfed by the tax benefits and economic development that occurs. It should be a classic case of the government spending pennies to generate dollars.

Also, gas produced and consumed in the U.S. will reduce our extreme dependence on foreign oil produced in places like the Middle East and Venezuela, entities that are less than friendly to our country. That will benefit everyone in our nation.

In terms of the environment, natural gas is a very clean-burning fuel. It emits fewer greenhouse gases than either oil or natural gas liquids (NGL). In many cities and states, officials are moving toward natural gas to power vehicles.

As indicated earlier, the Obama Stimulus Package is too large (more about that in future columns). However, there's no doubt Congress will allocate hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure project. Sadly, some congressional representative will line up to get financing for their pet projects, many of which have nothing to do with infrastructure.

But assistance for roads, bridges, and the like for Alaska's TransCanada Pipeline isn't pork. It's a necessary expenditure to move us toward energy independence and preserve our national security. We must move away from the situation where we're sending three-quarters of a trillion dollars to nations that don't like us and that, in some cases, are funding terrorism.

A project that's good for the entire nation -- that provides for economic growth -- is one that's deserving of assistance. Sarah Palin is on target in requesting such assistance.

Tomrrow: Sarah Palin's dramatic initiatives to move Alaska toward renewable energy . . .

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