Finding Oil and Gas where God Dumps Them

palinWell, here’s a great idea. Sarah Palin has offered to head the Department of Energy when Donald Trump becomes president. “I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby: oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind’s use…”

There’s a lot I could write about the suitability of Sarah Palin as director of the Free World’s energy. I’ll start with her colourful way of describing how oil, gas, and minerals form. In her interview, she said something about God taking a dump.

I guess when a politician thinks the world is just 7,000 years old, the polit may really think of geological deposits in terms of God’s dumpings. I can’t imagine her understanding traps, sources, migration, and reservoir rock with respect to hydrocarbons. Perhaps she doesn’t even care how God dumps natural resources.  Does it matter? Should we worry if the next person to run the American Department of Energy and command its 30.6 billion dollar budget, 13,000 federal employees and 93,000 contract workers doesn’t know how the firm’s widgets are made? It’s probably enough that the head of the department is a big-picture thinker. A leader with spunk and talent, people skills and leadership. Besides, what could be more amusing than having two reality TV stars running the USA – Trump (Apprentice) and Palin (Amazing America)?

Someone who really knows energy.

Someone who knows energy.

At the end of the CNN interview, Palin added “it would be great to have someone who knows energy” in charge of the department. Surprisingly, she was talking about herself. So, besides knowing that God has dumped energy upon America, what else does she know? Like most Americans, Sarah Palin knows that Alaska has a lot of energy. She should know this better than most – she was once a briefly-serving Alaska governor. As such she was responsible for a lot of energy.

“20% of America’s energy comes from Alaska,” she told us while she campaigned for vice-president. Well, the actual amount was 3.5%, an unfortunate error that she repeated for months. We expect a high-level big thinker to have a grasp for high-level numbers. So it makes us wonder what she meant when she told us that she knows energy.

It startled me when Palin commented yesterday morning on CNN that she would like to lead Trump’s energy department. But perhaps I worry too much. Although Trump responded by saying he could use her as his energy chief, I should remember that Sarah Palin doesn’t stay long on any of her jobs. And as the future energy secretary, she is already finding a way out. She’ll shut it down and move on, perhaps to a reality TV series called “How I Destroyed America”.

Palin tells us that her role as the national energy head would be short-term because all the energy operations and resources would be turned over to the states. (I wonder if that includes stateless offshore oil and gas.)  She would give the resources to the people of each state to manage. Perhaps there’s some logic to that. Or perhaps not. States have long had their own regulatory and oversight boards governing everything from well spacing, fracking rules, reclamation projects, and recovery rates from fields. But I guess the states could always do more and the federal government less. There might be 50 different competing bureaucracies – none with a national vision –  but what could possibly go wrong with that?

Speaking American

Speaking American

Although she would like to run the energy department, then quickly close it, Palin fortunately demurs on running anything dealing with culture and is unlikely to become Secretary of State. For example, in the recent Republican controversy about Jeb Bush campaigning in Spanish, she praised his effort to reach out to those nice Hispanic people who make up “a large and wonderful” part of the country. However, Sarah Palin added that in America, we should all “speak American.”  But I doubt that she meant real American – for example Navajo, Cree, or Cherokee.

However, Sarah Palin isn’t afraid of languages other than her own variety of American. She says that she studied both French and Spanish in high school, adding, “I shouldn’t have taken them both, because I got them all mixed up by the time I was graduating.”   I betcha she did.


About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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2 Responses to Finding Oil and Gas where God Dumps Them

  1. The really scary thing about Sarah Palin is that she is NOT stupid (unlike, I think, Bush Jr and Huckabee). She knows EXACTLY what she’s doing, and gets very well paid for it. so I suppose what is really really scary is the existence of all those people who choose to pay her.


    • Miksha says:

      You might be correct about all of this. Sarah Palin is well-paid and receives lots of ego-stroking adulation from her ‘base’ which contains some rather scary followers. However, if you watch Palin being interviewed by news media, it is easy to conclude that she struggles painfully (and unsuccessfully) to find phrases to mask her lack of preparation or knowledge about the subjects she agrees to discuss.


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