The Locker Room

August 30, 2008

Gov. Palin, Brad Miller and the polar bear listing

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:25 AM

The News & Observer today remembers back to last year when Rep. Brad Miller tangled with the State of Alaska over the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species:

Some Democrats in Congress might not know of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh does.

Miller last year accused the state of Alaska of using an opinion essay written in part by known "climate-doubt" scientists to back its opposition to listing the polar bear as a threatened species.

I wrote about the conflict in greater detail last year for Carolina Journal:

Miller, chairman of the House subcommittee on investigations and oversight, under the Science and Technology Committee, challenged efforts by ExxonMobil to fund research on how global warming affects the habitat of polar bears.

In a letter (.pdf) dated Oct. 17 to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Miller criticized the company’s sponsorship of an article penned by seven scientists for the journal Ecological Complexity. The scientists concluded in their article that no evidence exists that the diminishment of polar bears in the Western Hudson Bay area is caused by global warming.

Here's what Palin had to say about the matter:

“If the government is going to discredit all such scientists’ research, as Miller does, needed research will not be done,” Palin said. “Competent scientists will no longer be willing to undertake required studies or accept industry grants to conduct vital research.”

Palin’s office noted that many government agencies require oil companies to conduct environmental research and that if the bear study should be questioned because of funding from petroleum companies, then all research they do for the government should be doubted.

“The United States is a world leader in science because it encourages academic debate among scientists,” Palin said. “We stand by our use of the study and by our commitment to free and open scientific debate.”

Sounds promising, doesn't it? On the other hand, the governor is among the many of her executive colleagues across the nation who created a state commission to study climate change. Worse, her Department of Environment (despite forewarnings) hired the Center for Climate Strategies to manage the program. More on this in coming days, which will include documents I have obtained from the state of Alaska.

Cross-posted at Cooler Heads.

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Latest dispatches from the political trail

Posted by John Hood at 07:46 AM

• During a campaign swing in Onslow County, Pat McCrory argues that state officials in Raleigh need to spend more time connecting with other parts of the state. After McCrory, Beverly Perdue, and Mike Munger meet separately with the Greensboro News & Record's editorial board, the paper explores the three candidates' ideas, with particular emphasis on records in public office and McCrory's efforts to link Perdue with recent policy miscues in Raleigh.

• Perdue's campaign launches a preemptive strike against an expected $3.5 million ad campaign from the Republican Governors Association targeting her. The accusation invites charges of hypocrisy from the GOP. The News & Observer reports that McCrory's campaign-finance filings lack personal details on a number of donors, including well-known Charlotte business figures.

• A Charlotte Observer poll shows that most North Carolinians don't yet know much about Kay Hagan. The poll also finds little evidence of anti-Charlotte bias among NC voters. Bob Dole stumps for his wife at the Apple Festival in Hendersonville. Hagan will be there too, after taking in other festivals in Polk County and Beech Mountain.

• McClatchy reporters Rob Christensen and Jim Morrill report that the Democratic convention in Denver left NC Dems giddy about the prospects of an Obama presidency and gains in Congress, while trends in North Carolina are complex and “disorienting.” NC Republicans praise John McCain's pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, saying that it spotlights key issues such as energy and ethics.

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