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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

More on Palin’s False Energy Claim

There’s more on Sarah Palin’s claim, made in her ABC News interview, that Alaska produces 20 percent of the nation’s energy supply. As we noted in our original article, official statistics from the federal government show that Alaska produces only 3.5 percent of the total energy produced in the U.S., and 2.4 percent of the energy consumed.

McCain-Palin campaign officials said she meant to say that Alaska accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas production, which is the way she phrased the claim in later appearances. They also say she based that on a figure taken from the Web site of an Alaskan group called the Alaska Resource Development Council. But now, even that industry-backed group says the figure is wrong. We posted this update to our original article:

Update, Sept. 17: The Associated Press, in reporting on Palin’s “inflated” energy claim, contacted the Alaska Resource Development Council and confirmed that its 20 percent figure is badly out of date. It quoted Carl Portman, the group’s deputy director, as saying that the figure is an average for the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, which The AP noted was “long before Palin became governor at the end of 2006.” Portman was quoted as saying his group “planned to update the site to make it more clear that the 20 percent figure is over a period of time.”

And indeed, when we checked, the Web page had been changed to say that the state’s oil and gas industry accounted “for an average of 20 percent of the entire nation’s domestic production (1980 – 2000). Currrently, Alaska accounts for nearly 15% of U.S. production.” Even that 15 percent figure, however, is higher than the official statistics kept by the federal government, as we have already noted.