FACT CHECK: You can't have it all, sorry

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 3 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

THE FACTS: The reams of statistics on energy development are at odds with Republican depictions of Obama as the "President No" of energy.

The U.S. produced more oil in 2010 than it has since 2003. More gas has been produced in each of Obama's three years in office than at any time since 1936. Coal mining is on the rebound. The radioactive ore that fuels nuclear power plants has come out of the ground faster every year in his presidency. Production from renewables, such as hydroelectric power, solar, wind and biofuels, is higher than ever before. Active U.S. oil rigs increased 22.5 percent last year and the oil and gas extraction industry added 25,000 jobs, up 12 percent.

As Romney suggested, though, Obama is not responsible for much if not most of the fossil-fuel revival because the industry determines what makes financial sense to do and many new wells were planned before he became president.

The case can be made that Obama has not done enough — or from an environmental viewpoint, that he has done too much. But the record shows growth in every sector.

Still, he's drawn some lines that Republicans want erased. He is against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, has put off drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and temporarily blocked the Keystone pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Santorum's claim that the U.S. could "do it all" and Gingrich, in holding out the prospect of $2.50 a gallon a gas if he becomes president, shortchange the forces that shape the energy picture beyond a president's influence. Among them: a bitter winter in Europe that drove up demand and for oil and its price, growing demand in developing countries and political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa hindering supplies over the last year.

The U.S. gets no oil from Iran, despite Gingrich's suggestion otherwise, and only 13 percent of its oil comes from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Eliminating dependence on imports would require both a huge increase in domestic production and reduced demand, but Gingrich opposes fuel efficiency standards that are known to reduce the need for oil.

And no one in the have-it-all campaign is about to ask Americans to do without.

Associated Press writers Dina Cappiello, Tom Raum and Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report.

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