Sarah Palin For Energy Chief? Trump Considers Cabinet Nominees

Sarah Palin For Energy Chief? Trump Considers Cabinet Nominees
Oil and gas executives and Beltway insiders among the top names to be circulated to run US President-elect Donald Trump's America-first agenda.

Donald Trump’s fairly loose campaign policy plans left the oil industry unclear on what exactly he might do as president. And now that the dust is starting to settle on his unexpected victory, the U.S. president-elect is assembling a team of advisors – one of whom would be tapped to oversee oil and gas.

Among the possibilities is Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s 2008 running mate. Trump has said Palin – an early supporter – could have a place in his administration if she were so inclined.

For her part, Palin told CNN’s Jake Tapper last year that running the Department of Energy would line up with her strengths.

“I think a lot about the Department of Energy because energy is my baby,” she said. “Oil and gas and minerals – those things that God has dumped on this part of the earth for mankind’s use instead of us relying on unfriendly foreign nations for us to import their resources.”

Palin went on to say that as Energy Secretary, she would “get rid of it,” and leave the regulating to the states.

“So you know, if I were in charge of that, it would be a short term job, but it would be really great to have someone who knows energy and is pro-responsible development to be in charge,” she said.

Limiting regulations on oil and gas is one thing Trump has asserted. And reining in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s use of the Endangered Species Act – which President Obama’s detractors have said is abused – could provide development, said David Pursell, managing director and head of macro research at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

But appointing Palin wouldn’t be without its challenges.

“She probably knows a lot more about oil and gas than most governors because it is such a big piece of their state revenue, but I don’t think she knows a lot about oil and gas. They don’t do significant hydraulic fracturing in Alaska. It’s North Slope – big field, big project kind of development, and that’s not what is going on in the Lower 48. Maybe that doesn’t matter,” Pursell said. “It’s a question of how controversial [Trump] wants to be.”

Drill, Baby, Drill

Eight years ago when Palin was running for vice president, her mantra on the road was, “Drill, baby, drill.” Although it was unsuccessful in 2008, Trump’s victory has revived those who voice the conviction.

But abandoning all energy regulations isn’t necessarily the panacea that some argue, said Ed Hirs, economics fellow at the University of Houston.

“The industry doesn’t go out and deliberately blow regulations,” Hirs said. “What sort of regulations are going to be necessary to remove? What are you going to do – let people who are stoned get on the rigs? You’re going to let guys who are stoned and drunk handle $28 million rigs drilling $8 million wells? I don’t think so. You’re not going to relax all of those regulations.”


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An award-winning journalist, Deon has reported on energy, business and politics for almost 20 years. Email Deon at deon.daugherty@rigzone.com

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Benton S Yue | Nov. 21, 2016
I think former ARCO Alaska Executive Harold Heinze would be a great Candidate. Harold knows the oil business and he lives and breathes in Alaska, land with almost unlimited proven liquid and gas reservices in the continent.

Coy Smith | Nov. 18, 2016
I believe everyone would be better off if an oil & gas professional, a mid-sized company CEO, be appointed DOE Secretary. Someone who is a proven leader and an efficient manager. I have nothing against Governor Palin, I believe is a staunch conservative. However she is a politician with cursory knowledge about our industry and was not Alaska Governor long enough to leave a legacy of efficient management. Bobby Shackouls, former CEO of Burlington Resources would be an excellent choice, if he could be persuaded to take the job.

Daniel Pearson | Nov. 18, 2016
Id consider Art Berman for the job. He knows much more than Palin could ever hope to understand. Hes very pragmatic and a very data driven presenter and thinker. His vision is based on actual data and future implications, not just the short run. If there are any Trump Staff out there, give Mr. Berman a viewing.

R. A. Speir | Nov. 18, 2016
I was in the Energy Department (DOE) when the Reagan Administration came in and promised to eliminate it. They appointed an out-of-work ex South Carolina governor, Jim Edwards to carry out this mission. A former dentist, Edwards was known for such memorable statements as wanting to work myself out of a job and being anxious to get back to South Carolina and get my hands back in the saliva. After a couple of years of turmoil at DOE, Edwards was edged out. The principal reason was that Reagans people learned what DOE actually did, and found Edwards was not up to the job of managing it. The oil industry was a principal antagonist of the DOE, largely due to DOEs price regulation programs at the time. Reagan eliminated those regulations immediately, but soon found that the DOE, as a department, was mostly concerned with the nuclear industry. About 90% of its budget was, and pretty much still is, devoted to nuclear programs, including nuclear weapons development. That had some very high supporters in Congress, the most powerful of them being Republican. In many ways, the apparent direction the Trump people seem to be taking is reminiscent of the Reagan Administration, so Palins comments fit right in. A lot of their eyes will open the day after the inauguration and they have some quick lessons on what various organizations actually do, and who supports them.

Randy Peterson | Nov. 18, 2016
Nice to see someone WITH Oil & Gas experience being considered...

Don | Nov. 16, 2016
I think Ms. Palin would be a breath of fresh air. As for the drill baby drill comment, you might have also noted that she was a proponent of all of the above when they are economically viable. As for druggies on the rigs, Mr. Hirs, do you really think that companies who have invested the millions would knowingly allow that? Come on, you are just looking for a controversial statement.

Chris Hansen | Nov. 16, 2016
Shara Palin is the anti- PC candidate we need. The left would not recover from the statement a competent Shara Palin in a trusted position would make. But what kind of professors are we using in Universities these days. How is it possible that Ed Hirs can belive that relaxing regulations on the drilling industry put in place to protect the yellow headed piss-ant will result in drug addled drunks operating drilling rigs.

Rohit Shah | Nov. 16, 2016
Palin has brain of a bimbo. She need to go back to her back yard and see the USSR and make sure it is still there. Make sure she dont venture in lower 48.

john weaver | Nov. 16, 2016
Ms. Palin would be a fresh step fprward in removing the politicians form the O & G industry

Rick Patel | Nov. 15, 2016
Smart, sensible, sassy Sarah Palin will be a superb Secretary of the Interior.


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