Rick Perry's Jobs Plan Is a Nightmare for Liberals

Neutering the EPA, drilling in protected lands, cutting green subsidies: What's not to like?

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Rick Perry's jobs-creation plan is a liberal nightmare. On Friday, the Texas governor unveiled his manifesto at a steel plant in Pittsburgh, which promises to generate 1.2 million jobs by expanding oil and gas production and slashing environmental regulations. In other words: drill baby, drill. Since dropping sharply in the polls with the rise of Herman Cain, Perry sort of fell off the liberal radar screen. His “Energizing American Jobs and Security” fixed that! In today's lefty blogosphere, he's the talk of the town. Here's how they're picking apart his plan:

It will kneecap green energy startups, writes Ezra Klein at The Washington Post. Perry's plan calls for an end to green subsidies. (To be fair, he also calls for an end to gas and oil subsidies too.) But Klein says that still doesn't create an even playing field. "Analysts have argued that fossil-fuel producers would primarily benefit from such a move, since they enjoy all sorts of legacy advantages."

It's a petroleum pollution plan, fumes Daniel Weiss, senior fellow of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress: "The Perry plan would undo safeguards from deadly smog, acid rain, mercury, and other pollution. And it ignores a clean tech future while returning to a fossil fuel past. It is of little surprise that the Perry Petroleum Pollution Plan would continue to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to big oil companies through subsidies, while eliminating incentives for American wind and solar companies to grow. The Perry plan should be stamped 'Made By Big Oil.'" The actual words of the plan recommend cutting the EPA budget by "up to 60%" and returning regulatory power to the states.

Its job-creation numbers are "unrealistic," writes Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Levi says 500,000 jobs created is the absolute maximum an energy policy could create by 2030. Of those numbers, about 130,000 would be oil and gas jobs. The problem with Perry's policy is that it assumes he will be "reversing deeply anti-industry Obama policies that don't actually exist (which is not to say that the Obama policies have no flaws), ignore real constraints at the state level, and don't fully account for market dynamics."

It endangers protected lands, writes Judd Legum at Think Progress. He cites two policies baked into the plan: “We also strongly recommend opening other federal lands with known resources for development, particularly in Alaska, the Atlantic OCS, and our western states. Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002) alone contains as much as 12 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.” In another part of the plan, it discusses fast-tracking permits for drilling along the Gulf Coast. "“The first step towards energy security and job growth is returning immediately to 2007 levels of permitting in the Gulf of Mexico, responsibly making more of the Gulf available for energy production.”

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