Gov. Sarah Palin surprised state legislators Wednesday by indicating she is willing to negotiate how much the state taxes natural gas in order to attract oil companies to a pipeline project.
"We are open to changes in the state's fiscal structure to allow this project to happen. ... We are open to whatever it takes to make sure that this project happens for our state and for our country," Palin told reporters.
Palin's comments came as she defended her approach to trying to secure a natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48. She's reacting to critics in and out of the Legislature. Two state representatives are pushing a resolution asking Palin to re-evaluate the state's award of a natural gas pipeline license to TransCanada, a Canadian pipeline firm. A writer in the business magazine Portfolio also this week wrote what Palin called a "hit piece" blaming her for the state not having a pipeline.
The headline on the story, by author Joe McGinniss, said: "Forget 'Drill, baby, drill.' Sarah Palin says she's building a $40 billion gas pipeline, which even President Obama wants. The only problem: It isn't there. And it's her fault."
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"That headline was idiotic," Palin said.
Legislators were surprised to hear Palin express a willingness to put gas taxes on the table in discussions with the oil companies – who control the huge North Slope gas reserves and are needed to make a pipeline project happen. But Palin said it has always been her position.
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