Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Friday that as president he would use executive orders to roll back environmental regulations in order to access untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal.
"The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy," Perry said in a speech at a steel plant near Pittsburgh. "But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down." He claimed that his plan would create 1.2 million jobs, and that it would not require action by Congress.
Perry said that by cutting regulations - including Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gasses and limitations on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the mid-Atlantic and Alaska (including the ANWR Coastal Plain and the National Petroleum Reserve) - America can "break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East." He also called for opening federal and private land in Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah for exploration.
, the massive gas reserve in Appalachia that many environmentalists warn could permanently pollute groundwater if exploited for energy. Perry also called in his remarks for construction of a that the Obama administration is expected to approve over the aggressive objections of environmentalists. A final decision by the State Department on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil a day, is expected by the end of the year.
Perry complained of "hostility" to the use of coal by the Obama administration and "the EPA's war on American fossil fuel production" and cast hydraulic fracturing of natural gas - "fracking" - as safe. He called the notion that "we must pick between energy and the environment" a "false choice."
"End the over-regulation. End the excess litigation. End the bureaucratic intimidation. Let's get back to what works to get America working again," said the Texas governor.
The speech was Perry's first major address on policy, and he promised to roll out his full economic platform within days. It came as part of a media blitz by the Texas governor, who has fallen precipitously in polls in the wake of a series of shaky debate performances and is now seeking to get his campaign back on track. Perry appeared on four network morning shows and called into radio programs in key early voting states Friday, and he has been pushing his energy proposals throughout the week.
After the speech, Obama for America Press Secretary Ben LaBolt said Perry's energy policy is "straight out of the past - doubling down on finite resources with no plan to promote innovation or to transition the nation to a clean energy economy."