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Perry Misstates Facts, Brags About Polluted Texas Air at GOP Debate

08 Sep 2011  |   Emma Brown

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry experienced a series of gaffes in Wednesday night’s GOP debate, misstating key climate change facts and distorting the truth about his Texas record.

During the debate the Perry repeated an earlier assertion he had made that climate change science is still being debated by the scientific community. 

“The science is not settled on this,” Perry said.

In fact, 97% of climate scientists concur that climate change is real and that human activity plays a significant role in the warming of the climate.

Later in the debate Perry drastically exaggerated his role as Governor in cleaning up Texas air. "What I find compelling is what we've done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air.” Perry stated.  “We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade." Perry went on to specifically mention that the state successfully curbed nitrous oxide emissions by 58% and ozone levels by 27%.

Perry fails to mention that Texas only took action to clean up its act after the EPA—which Perry earlier this week promised to handicap so quickly the agency “won’t know what hit ‘em”—required the state to do so under the Clean Air Act. 

Perry also leaves out the “minor” detail that as Governor he signed into law legislation delaying clean air standards for two years—despite the fact that Texas continues to emit the highest levels of carbon dioxide in the nation.

In fact air quality remains so bad in Texas, the EPA was forced to rescind that state’s authority to grant air pollution permits because it failed to comply with federal standards.

As Perry continues his anti-science agenda, the results for Texas are particularly tragic. The Texas drought—among the worst in history and likely exacerbated by climate change—continues.   Multiple metropolitan areas in the state continue to fail to meet the most basic human health standards for air quality. Houston alone is rated as among the worst in the nation for air quality. And Big Oil continues to fill Perry’s campaign coffers.



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