Palin steps down from politics. What does this mean for environmentalists – and wolves?

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and former Republican VP nominee, has resigned from the office of governor.  While this move raised questions about her plans to run for president in 2012, she is, according to sources close to her, “out of politics period.”  (Read the HuffPost article here and the CNN report here.)

This news may seem off-topic for a green blog, but it really isn’t.  Governor Palin rose to national fame during the 2008 elections.  Since then, she has gained infamy among conservation groups for her environmental record, repeatedly supporting ANWR drilling and brutal “predator control” projects, while fighting Endangered Species protection for polar bears and beluga whales.

I could go on about Alaska’s war against nature, but this article is about Sarah Palin, and her state’s wildlife policy has been atrocious since long before she took office.

Still, Palin has actively supported oil drilling and predator control, so her resignation could potentially have a strong impact in the environmental scene.  Unfortunately, her successor is likely to continue many of the state’s outdated policies, as he has called Palin Alaska’s “greatest gift.”

Her presidential campaign — or lack thereof — is of more significance.  Her down-to-earth charisma and well-publicized values endeared her to conservative Republican voters, who would possibly favor her in the 2012 election.  And a President Palin could make us greens miss Bush.

UPDATE:  To avoid confusion, I should correct that Governor Palin does not necessarily intend to quit politics altogether.  While she may not plan to run for national office, she will still be a major player in American politics.

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