One of governor Palin’s very few actually documented achievements in office as governor has been what she has described as a breakthrough in constructing an oil pipeline. Here’s how she put it in her convention address:
“And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence."
And here’s how she put it earlier this year:
When the Legislature ratified the choice of TransCanada this summer, Ms. Palin called a news conference to hail the deal, saying that the state had finally obtained a commitment to build the pipeline.
In fact, the entire pipeline is at this point as reality-based as that "Mission Accomplished" banner:
The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years away and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade. In fact, although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin’s relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built, and under a worst-case scenario, the state could lose up to $500 million it committed to defray regulatory and other costs.
And at her news conference declaring a commitment to build the pipeline, she was forced to concede later she had been ahead of herself:
After some of her aides offered a more restrained assessment, she dialed back her exuberance, saying, “We’re not turning dirt yet.” Under the most optimistic circumstances, dirt is not expected to be turned for years. TransCanada’s plan calls for it to file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the end of 2011, and to have the pipeline operational by late 2018. The company is not obligated to proceed with the project even if it clears all the financial and regulatory hurdles.
In assessing the state of the project, Mr. Galvin, the state revenue commissioner, avoided the characterization that Ms. Palin employed in her convention speech.
For the record.