Palin says U.S. oil imports pose security risk

ST. PAUL (Reuters) - U.S. reliance on imported oil poses a national security risk, and energy policy should include everything from expanding domestic drilling to finding alternative fuels, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said on Wednesday.

In her speech accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, Palin said a natural gas pipeline under construction in Alaska would one day “lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.”

She said the United States should not be so reliant on imported oil that it has to tap its Strategic Petroleum Reserve when a hurricane strikes oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

“With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers,” she said.

“To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries, we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas,” she said.

She said a McCain-Palin administration would lay more pipelines, build more nuclear plants, and research solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative energy sources.

“We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers.”

Earlier on Wednesday, McCain touted Palin’s experience in charge of Alaska’s energy resources as evidence that she was prepared to serve as America’s commander in chief.

In an interview with ABC’s “World News,” McCain repeatedly mentioned that his vice presidential pick had been in charge of “20 percent of America’s energy supply” when she served in Alaska’s natural resources agency.

“And one of the key elements of America’s national security requirements are energy,” he said. “She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C.”

Writing by Emily Kaiser, editing by Jackie Frank