WASHINGTON – GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry released his economic plan Friday, promising that an energy-centric program to expand offshore drilling and domestic oil and gas exploration would create 1.2 million jobs.
The Texas governor, who spoke at a suburban Pittsburgh steel mill, is building on the Republican Party’s “drill, baby, drill” mantra. He’d move to open federal lands to drilling, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and would curtail the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory powers.
It was Perry’s first detailed economic program since he announced Aug. 13 that he was running for president, and it came at a time when he’s dropped dramatically in the polls, moving from front-runner to nearly second-tier status.
Struggling to seize a message of his own, Perry turned to the energy sector – familiar ground to any energy state lawmaker – as the basis for his jobs program.
“The plan I present this morning, Energizing American Jobs and Security, will kick-start economic growth and create 1.2 million jobs,” he said.
Saying the premise for his plan is “make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world,” Perry predicted: “We are standing atop the next American economic boom … energy.”
“The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down,” he said.
“America has proven but untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal.”
Perry said that using executive orders and other executive actions, he would authorize more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore. He also would seek congressional authorization to drill in Alaska’s ANWR region, a move that’s been unsuccessful for years.
Perry said Alaska energy efforts alone would create 120,000 jobs.
“We will resume pre-Obama levels of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and create another 230,000 jobs,” he said.
He didn’t mention last year’s environmental disaster, the BP oil spill in the Gulf, but said that such “ecological treasures” as the Florida Everglades and Yellowstone National Park would remain untouched.
Perry said he’d open up federal and private lands for exploration in states such as Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah.