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GOP presidential hopeful Perry unveils energy blueprint

(Xinhua)

13:25, October 15, 2011

HOUSTON, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to shore up shrinking support, U.S. Republican presidential hopeful and Texas governor Rick Perry unveiled energy policy proposals Friday, which he said could generate 1.2 million jobs.

Campaigning at a steel plant in Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry touted the plan as a way to "create jobs in every sector and revitalize manufacturing" while harnessing the country's energy reserve.

"This American jobs plan is based on a simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world," he said in the first of a series of planned speeches to clarify his economic agenda, which had been criticized by many as being too vague.

The plan calls for expanding oil and gas drilling while slashing new and proposed environmental regulations which Perry says are killing jobs.

The centerpiece of the blueprint is to open up federal lands and waters to drilling, includes those in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the mid-Atlantic and the American West.

Under the plan, Perry also vows to pull back "job-killing regulations" and overhaul the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

He said many of his ideas can be implemented immediately and "unilaterally," without requiring congressional action.

On alternative energy, Perry said he opposes imposing a nationwide renewable portfolio standard that would require power utilities to generate a set percentage of their electricity from wind, the sun and other easily replenished sources.

The governor also favored swifter permitting of nuclear power plants and continued government support for the development of so-called "clean coal" technology that promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are released when power plant burn the fossil fuel.

Some environmentalists dismissed the Perry plan as a giveaway to big oil companies.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, an influential U.S. grassroots environmental organization, said Perry's proposal "reads like a roadmap for making America's kids sick."

"Under this plan, we can expect to see much higher rates of asthma among children, and risk to pregnant women from mercury exposure," said Brune.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, said the plan is "straight out of the past" and involves "doubling down on finite resources with no plan to promote innovation or to transition the nation to a clean energy economy."

Perry's support, which grew steadily in the first month of his campaign and once propelled him to front-runner status, has waned in recent weeks, with missteps and concentrated attacks from other candidates putting him on the defensive.

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