London, Sep 6 : Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's environmental policy is so toxic that it would make the incumbent, George Bush, blush.
McCain has stressed he is concerned about global warming and has come out against drilling in the Arctic reserve. But, in recent weeks, he has wobbled on the issue, The Independent reported.
And environmentalists are describing Palin, who denies climate change is man-made, as "either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading".
She wants to start drilling. She wants to block US moves to list the polar bear as an endangered species. And she has allowed big game hunters to shoot Alaska's bears and wolves from low-flying planes, the Paper said.
The 44-year-old governor says a federal government decision to protect the polar bear will cripple energy development offshore. As a result, she is suing the Bush Administration, which ruled the polar bear is endangered and needs protection.
The US Geological Survey says climate change has shrunk Arctic summer sea ice to about 1.65 million square miles, nearly 40 per cent less than the long-term average between 1979 and 2000.
In such a situation it was unconscionable for Palin to ignore overwhelming evidence of global warming threat to sea ice, says Kassie Siegel of the Centre for Biological Diversity.
"Even the Bush administration can't deny the reality of global warming," Siegel said.
Palin would also like to bring open-cast coal mining to Alaska's Brooks Range Mountains, an act of environmental vandalism in the eyes of many.
The Palin administration has allowed Chevron to triple the amount of toxic waste it pours into the waters of Cook Inlet. This, even though the number of beluga whales in the bay has collapsed from 1,300 to 350 - the point of extinction - because of pollution and increased ship traffic.
On the Republican convention floor she said: "We Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas and take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We've got lots of both."
Her support in Alaska relies on squeezing more money for the state from the oil companies themselves.
Palin wants nothing to hinder the oil companies. She maintains that polar bears are well managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation. And if the ice should go away, then they will adapt to living on the land.
Many oil companies abandoned Alaska when prices fell in the 1980s but they have been rushing back to drill and prospect areas that are among the least hospitable on earth.
Hundreds of spills involving tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil and other petroleum products occur in the area each year. Decades-old spills are still a problem and 17,000 acres of wildlife and marine habitat have already been destroyed.