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Sarah Palin Blasts Cap-and-Trade Plan

Gov. Sarah Palin's op-ed piece in the Washington Post blasting President Obama's energy plan erases any doubt -- in my mind, at least -- that she is positioning herself for the 2012 presidential campaign.

Palin's recent decision to resign as Alaska's governor already had politicos and regular-folks alike speculating about her future plans. Federal Election Commission filings showing Palin's political action committee raised nearly $773,000 in the first six months of 2009 added to the furor.

Tuesday's op-ed piece, which spurred a host of counterattacks and debunkings throughout the day, achieved at least one goal: Palin kept herself in the political and media spotlight for another week.

Palin's primary complaint is that cap-and-trade -- the centerpiece to the House's recently passed climate change legislation -- would drive up energy costs, threaten U.S. jobs and ultimately undermine the country's economic recovery.

She also reaches out to farm states with this:

"In addition to immediately increasing unemployment in the energy sector, even more American jobs will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under the cap-and-tax plan. For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices."
Palin's answer is to "tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil."

For Palin, that means natural gas, drilling for U.S. oil offshore "and a tiny 2,000-acre corner of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if ever given the go-ahead by Washington bureaucrats," she wrote. Palin also touts resources in other states such as coal and the possibility of exploring nuclear energy. She called for investments domestically, pointing to Alaska's 3,000-mile natural gas pipeline as an example.

She does not mention alternative energy such as solar or wind; efforts at increasing energy efficiency; or second-generation biofuels. As the Atlantic points out, she also never mentions emissions, pollution or global warming in her criticism of a plan to deal with those exact issues.

Palin concludes with a question of whether we want to outsource our energy supply to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. WSJ's Environmental Capital debunks the outsourcing theory as well as pointing out that natural gas is likely to be the largest beneficiary of the energy and climate bill currently moving through the Senate.

Palin's blathering op-ed is problematic notbecause of her objections to the cap-and-trade plan. Criticism of the House's version of climate change legislation known as Waxman-Markey is abundant and the Senate bill promises the same reception from both conservatives and environmentalists alike. In many cases, the criticisms -- much of which revolve around the number of concessions included in the bill -- are justified. Palin's op-ed, which avoids actual details of the plan and the issues it attempts to tackle, comes across as an attempt to hold onto the national spotlight a little bit longer. Which means the health care op-ed should be coming out any day now.