The Justice Department has also brought criminal proceedings against oil companies for breaking the law prior to Obama's tenure.
GINGRICH: "It comes down to a simple idea: What if we had a program that enabled the American people to develop so much new energy that we were, in fact, no longer reliant on Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran."
THE FACTS: The U.S. doesn't import any oil from Iran. Together, Saudi Arabia and Iraq accounted for about 13 percent of all U.S. imports in 2010, according to the EIA. To replace what the U.S. is importing from those two countries with drilling alone would require domestic oil production to grow by 25 percent. The EIA predicts domestic production will peak in 2020, but even that won't be enough to cover what is imported today from those two countries. Eliminating dependence on imports would require both more domestic production and reduced demand. U.S. oil imports dropped below 50 percent in 2010, thanks in large part to a lackluster economy, more efficient cars and the blending of ethanol into gasoline.
GINGRICH: "Now I want you to think about this: Thousands of migratory birds are killed every year by wind turbines. But wind turbines are one of President Barack Obama's favorite alternative fuels, so they are green. Therefore, although they kill birds they are green so they are good even though what they are doing may not be good."
THE FACTS: Gingrich appears to be using solid science here, and sounds much like bird conservation groups with this claim. The American Bird Conservancy has called the Fish and Wildlife Service's failure to go after bird deaths from wind turbines a "double standard." In 2008, a scientist with the service estimated that wind farms were killing 440,000 birds per year. Now there are even more wind turbines. The agency estimates that 500,000 to 1 million birds die annually in oil field pits and at waste facilities. Justice Department records show that while charges have been brought under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for birds killed by power lines, oil field waste pits and inaccurate pesticide applications by farmers, bird deaths by wind farms have so far escaped prosecution. So, too, have much larger sources of bird deaths such as automobile strikes, cat attacks and birds colliding with buildings, which could also be prosecuted under the law but aren't.
GINGRICH: "The Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama has a proposal for a brand-new regulation that would, on average, raise the cost of gasoline another 25 cents."
THE FACTS: Gingrich is referring to a proposal to lower the sulfur content of gasoline, but the EPA has yet to come out with any such regulation. Gingrich gets his cost increase figure from a July 2011 study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying group for the oil industry. The report concluded that gas prices could rise 12 to 25 cents, a range six senators cited in a letter to the EPA in January. Gingrich picks the high end of the range, which assumes the most stringent requirements. EPA officials say that even the low projection assumes actions that the agency has no plans of pursuing.
Associated Press writers Matthew Daly in Washington and Jonathan Fahey in New York contributed to this report.
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EDITOR'S NOTE _ An occasional look at statements by political candidates and how well they adhere to the facts.
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