Skip to main content

Truth Squad: Can Perry's energy plan create 1.2 million jobs?

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed October 19, 2011

(CNN) -- Gov. Rick Perry touted part of his plan to boost the economy at Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, saying his energy strategy would create 1.2 million jobs. Last week, Perry said his plan would focus on tapping unexplored domestic sources for oil and gas. To do this, he said, regulations on oil and gas producers would need to be changed. Fewer rules would free up drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, and expand clean-coal technology resources, he said.

The statement: "1.2 million jobs could be put to work." -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry, referring to his energy plan.

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.

Perry has said that he would try to accomplish much of his goals by bypassing Congress through executive orders.

To reach the API's numbers, the industry would need to drill off the East and West Coasts, in waters off Florida's Gulf Coast, in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and on most federal public land that's not a national park. And the API says the industry would need approval to build new pipelines to help double production from Canada's oil sands.

The verdict: True, but incomplete. Perry's figure is largely backed by an industry-commissioned study aimed at convincing Washington policymakers to ease regulations and open currently protected lands to exploration. But the calculations are based on assumptions about policies that have strong opposition in the current environment.

CNN's Lindsey Knight, Katie Glaeser, Matt Smith and Jason Hanna, and CNNMoney's Steve Hargreaves and Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT