Newsweek Hits 'Pipeline to Nowhere'; Suggests Palin Too 'Optimistic' About Legal Hurdles

Borrowing from the nickname for a federal earmark that would have built a multi-million dollar bridge for an Alaska town of 50 people, Newsweek's Mark Hosenball offers readers of the September 29 print magazine a look at "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's Pipeline to Nowhere."

Hosenball suggests that Palin's $500-million "principal achievement" as governor "might never be built after all." But while the headline evokes images of the "Bridge to Nowhere," this isn't a case of government waste as much as it is of the endless red tape of lawsuits.:

Approximately half of the proposed pipeline would run through Canada; native tribes who live along its route complain they haven't been consulted about it and are threatening to sue unless they are compensated. Representatives of the canadian tribes, known as First Nations, say Palin and other pipeline proponents are treating them with disrespect. The tribes' lawyers warn that the courts are on their side and say the Indians have the power to delay the pipeline for years-or even kill it entirely by filing endless lawsuits.

Yet rather than find critics of the potential job-killing litigation that may well crop up in Canadian courts, Hosenball cobbled together quotes from people suggesting the Palin administration was too "optimistic" about clearing legal hurdles to the gas pipeline.

Liz Logan, chief of a First Nations umbrella group in British Columbia, told NEWSWEEK that TransCanada, the company Palin's administration selected to pursue the project, has "very much downplayed the extent of the legal difficulties they face in Canada." One of Canada's top pipeline experts, Professor Andre Plourde of the University of Alberta, agrees that the seven-year timetable proposed by Palin's lawyers for sorting out First Nations claims is "optimistic indeed."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters