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Truth Squad: A million new gas jobs?

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:33 AM EDT, Fri September 23, 2011

(CNN) -- The statement:

"Natural gas, you are looking at 500,000 to a million jobs over the next five years. It is ours, affordable, it has important national security implications and we should begin the conversion process."

-- Former ambassador to China and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, touting his support for natural gas exploration during Thursday night's Republican presidential debate In Orlando.

The facts:

-- The oil and gas industry says it can create 1 million new American jobs by 2018 and 1.4 million by 2030, as long as the federal government adopts "policies which encourage the development of U.S. oil and natural gas resources," according to a study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, the industry's trade association.

-- But the policies on API's wish list include several that have been shot down by Congress in the past or are opposed by the Obama administration. They include opening more federal lands and water to drilling and easing regulations on producers.

-- Among those regulations it wants to see eased are limits on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," of underground rock formations that harbor gas deposits. But that process has become increasingly controversial in states like Pennsylvania, where residents say drilling has led to the contamination of their water supplies.

The verdict:

True, but incomplete. The figure appears to originate from an industry-commissioned study aimed at convincing Washington policymakers to ease regulations and open up currently protected lands to exploration. But the calculations are based on assumptions about policies that have strong opposition in the current environment.

More truth squad:

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Can you just sit around, collect unemployment?

Did Obama destroy the economy?

CNN's Lindsey Knight, Katie Glaeser and Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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