Palin offers Obama advice on holding oil companies accountable: ‘Give me a call’

By Becky Bohrer, AP
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Palin to Obama on oil companies: ‘Give me a call’

JUNEAU, Alaska — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said President Barack Obama’s acknowledgment that he hasn’t directly spoken to BP’s chief executive shows it “bodes well to have some sort of executive experience before occupying the Oval Office.”

Then, in a Facebook posting Tuesday, she outlined her experience. And she urged Obama to contact experts, including those in Alaska, who have held oil companies accountable. In parts of this state, the effects of the Exxon Valdez disaster are still being felt 21 years after that massive oil spill.

“Give them a call,” she wrote. “Or, what the heck, give me a call.”

Palin’s latest missive is extensive, chiding not only Obama but also the media for not calling him out in his handling of the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama, in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, broadcast Tuesday, said he hadn’t spoken directly to BP CEO Tony Hayward because his experience tells him someone like that would say “all the right things” and that he’s more interested in action than in words.

However, Obama said “we are communicating to him every single day exactly what we expect of him, and what we expect of that administration.”

An oil rig leased by BP PLC exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, killing 11 workers and unleashing a spill that remains uncontained.

“The current administration may be unaware that it’s the President’s duty, meeting on a CEO-to-CEO level with Hayward, to verify what BP reports,” wrote Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and a potential presidential challenger in 2012.

She then extolled her own experience in Alaska, and what she called her administration’s efforts to ensure “Big Oil” operated ethically and responsibly. Among those: creation of a Petroleum Systems Integrity Office “when we saw proof of improper maintenance of oil infrastructure in our state. We had to verify. And that’s why we instituted new oversight and held BP and other oil companies financially accountable for poor maintenance practices.

“We knew we could partner with them to develop resources without pussyfooting around with them. As a CEO, it was my job to look out for the interests of Alaskans with the same intensity and action as the oil company CEOs looked out for the interests of their shareholders,” she wrote.

Palin resigned last summer in the midst of her first term as governor.

Pamela Miller, arctic program director for the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, said she has yet to see “any tangible results in the oil fields” as a result of the office’s work. She called Palin’s claims on it “hollow.”

“And she walked. So how is she holding that entity accountable?” Miller said. “What kind of executive experience is that?”

The White House did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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