Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) is the country’s top polluter. Unsurprisingly, then, before releasing his energy plan Friday, the presidential candidate released a new attack ad and op-ed that lay out a strategy of drilling for more oil and gas, rolling back clean air and clean water standards, and spewing out a whole lot of misleading claims about the EPA.
Perry’s plan for developing more oil, gas, and coal with limited regulation is straight out of 1911, not 2011. But then again, this is a guy who has stuck with his dangerously ignorant attacks on human-caused climate change — all while his state withers under the worst heat and drought ever experienced in Texas.
In an op-ed published in New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper, Perry made it clear he wouldn’t just “pray away” environmental regulations — he would make every effort to repeal them:
As President, I would roll back the radical agenda of President Obama’s job-killing Environmental Protection Agency. Our nation does not need costly new federal restrictions, especially during our present economic crisis. I would also oppose federal restrictions on natural gas production, including hydraulic fracturing, which is successfully regulated at the state level, and will deliver the energy needed to spark our economic recovery.
Much of my plan can be accomplished by changing the occupant of the White House and removing the liberal, anti-job activists running regulatory agencies in Washington. With the stroke of a pen, I will initiate a review of all Obama-era regulations, begin a comment and review period, and work to eliminate onerous rules that kill jobs with little benefit to the environment.
Somebody call the locksmith. Rick Perry is ready to shut down the EPA and drive out the supposed “anti-job” activists who care about a healthy environment and a livable planet.
Those regulations that Perry and other candidates keep calling “job-killers?” According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they’re actually having a lower impact under the Obama administration than they did in 2008 at the end of the Bush administration (see chart below). Bruce Bartlett, a former senior official with the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, had a great op-ed in The New York Times on the false claims that Republican candidates make about regulations:
In my opinion, regulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. In other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment.
Perry continues with the political opportunism by making some very misleading statements about the impact of EPA regulations:
If the EPA’s emissions regulations go into effect as scheduled, they could cost America 1.65 million jobs by 2020, while dramatically increasing average U.S. electricity prices.
Actually, no. While estimates of net job creation vary widely, the impact due to increased construction and manufacturing activity through retrofits and build-out of new power plants could be in the tens of thousands of jobs. And here’s what the “dramatic” change in electricity prices would look like with new EPA air quality regulations in place, according to the Energy Information Administration:
Aside from lying about the impact of regulation, Perry’s campaign is smearing his closest competitor, former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, for supporting the shut-down of an old coal plant responsible for dozens of premature deaths and more than 14,000 cases of asthma each year.
Yes, Perry is actually attacking Romney — a candidate who once had a backbone on environmental issues — for helping protecting the health of his local community. But then again, this is coming from the governor of a state with the highest levels of mercury, CO2, and toxic emissions in the country.
Perry says he’ll give a detailed explanation of his energy policy on Friday. But he’s already made it very clear what he stands for.