Palin Exaggerates Alaska's Energy Role

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone in the United States of America."

Sen. John McCain, NBC interview, Sept. 10

"My job has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas."

Gov. Sarah Palin, Golden, Colo., Sept. 15

The woman touted by John McCain as the most knowledgeable person in America on energy issues has been having a lot of trouble getting her basic energy statistics straight. Last week, Sarah Palin told Charles Gibson of ABC News that her state, Alaska, produced "nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy." On Monday, she told a campaign rally in Golden, Colo., that she had been responsible for overseeing "nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas." Both claims are way off.

THE FACTS

While Alaska is a leading producer of crude oil, it produces relatively little natural gas, hardly any coal and no nuclear power. Its share of oil production has been declining sharply, and the state now ranks lower than Texas and Louisiana. Alaska is the ninth-largest energy supplier in the United States, accounting for a modest 3.5 percent share of the nation's total energy production.

After nonpartisan Factcheck.org pointed out Palin's error in her interview with Gibson, the governor revised her statement somewhat, limiting it to oil and gas. But data compiled by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) contradict her claim that she oversees "nearly 20 percent" of oil and gas production in the country. According to authoritative EIA data, Alaska accounted for 7.4 percent of total U.S. oil and gas production in 2005.

It is not even correct for Palin to claim that her state is responsible for "nearly 20 percent" of U.S. oil production. Oil production has fallen sharply in Alaska during her governorship. The state's share of total U.S. oil production fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 13 percent this year, according to the EIA.

The McCain-Palin campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation.

THE PINOCCHIO TEST

The Republican vice presidential nominee continues to peddle bogus statistics three days after the original error was pointed out by independent fact-checkers.

FOUR PINOCCHIOS: Real whoppers


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