Palin’s Energy Department Job Comments Show She Has No Idea What It Entails
When Sarah Palin said she wants to be Donald Turmp’s Secretary of Energy, her comments indicated she has no understanding of what that means. She said:
I’d let the states start having more control over the lands that are within their boundaries and the people who are affected by the developments within their states. If I were in charge of that, it would be a short-term job, but it would be really great to have someone who knows energy and is pro-responsible development to be in charge.”
Palin is talking about the fact that the federal government owns billions of acres of land and coastal waters, containing quite a bit of oil, gas, and coal. Industry groups have long complained that President Obama isn’t opening up nearly as much of this land to development as they’d like. And a few groups out West have even demanded that much of this land be returned to the states.
Except that all has little to do with the Department of Energy, which mainly oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons program (a task consuming nearly half its budget) and conducts energy research.
What Palin seems to want is the Department of Interior, which manages most federal lands. They’re the ones handling leases for coal mining or supervising offshore oil and gas drilling. If you wanted to transfer federal lands back to the states, you’d focus on Interior, not Energy.
Now, even if Palin did become a cabinet secretary, she still couldn’t just abolish a department on her own. That would likely require an act of Congress. But it sounds like Interior should be the job Palin “thinks a lot” about.