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Perry to pledge 1.2 million new jobs with energy plan

HANOVER, NH - OCTOBER 11: Republican presidential candidate and incumbent Texas Gov. Rick Perry prepares for a presidential debate sponsored by Bloomberg and The Washington Post held at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. The event moderated by U.S. television talk show host Charlie Rose and featuring eight Republican candidates, presents the first debate of the 2012 political season focused solely on the economy. (Photo by Scott Eells-Pool/Getty Images)
Scott Eells-Pool/Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate and incumbent Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Scott Eells-Pool/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH -- Rick Perry will pledge Friday to create 1.2 million jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil by rolling back environmental regulations and expanding oil and gas exploration.

"The choice this election is between two very different visions for our country," Perry will say Friday, according to excerpts of his remarks provided by the campaign. "When it comes to energy, the President would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations while I would unleash 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home."

One of the GOP presidential candidate¹s more controversial proposals will be to tap the Marcellus Shale, a massive gas reserve in Appalachia that many environmentalists warn could permanently pollute groundwater if exploited for energy. The proposal may receive a positive reception at the site of Perry's speech: a steel plant in West Mifflin, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh.

The region has lost thousands of steel jobs and could stand to benefit from the 250,000 jobs that the Texas governor says would be created by tapping the reserve.

"Natural gas exploration is a game-changer that can bring new opportunities to replace the ones that have been lost," Perry will say. "Development of natural gas will create jobs in the supply chain and lead to lower energy costs for manufacturers."

Though he is a critic of government overreach, Perry plans to tell his audience here that he will use unilateral authority through executive orders to put his energy and jobs programs into place. He describes these as the first steps of a plan to grow jobs but he has not yet said what the other steps might involve.

The Texas governor had been previewing his energy message all week as it comprised the bulk of his talking points at both an economic debate at Dartmouth University on Tuesday and a speech to the Indianapolis GOP the next day. He previewed more details of the plan in an op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this week.

Perry will speak at 10:30 a.m. ET at the United States Steel Mon Valley Works Irvin Plant.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.