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Shale Gas: Can’t find anything specific from Paul on this topic, but he generally supports private production of all energy sources.
Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste: Paul was one of the few members of Congress to vote against funding the Yucca Mountain waste disposal facility. He reiterated his view during the Las Vegas candidate debate. Paul says he wants to “lift government roadblocks to the use of coal and nuclear power.” Paul also called the reaction of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan “overblown” but suggested that no new nuclear plants are likely to be built in the U.S. It should be noted that back in 2008, Paul sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy urging the agency to back a federal loan guarantee for NRG Energy to build two nuclear power plants in South Texas. In the Las Vegas debate, Paul argued, "The government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy. And nuclear energy, I think, is a good source of energy, but they still get subsidies."
Space Exploration: Paul voted against the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that enacted the Obama administration’s new space policy, including efforts in the direction of commercialization. In 2008, Paul was just one of 15 members of Congress to vote against President George Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration. Paul did, however, vote in 2004 for the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act. After Paul’s congressional district was redrawn putting part of it near the Johnson Space Center, a group of Houston businesspeople met to explain the “value of the space shuttle” and Paul reportedly responded that “space travel isn’t in the Constitution.”
SOPA: At a recent campaign event Paul warned against increasing federal government threats to civil liberties. He added, “And they are planning more; they are planning the whole idea of controlling the Internet. They are saying that they are going to control piracy on the Internet, but what they are going to do is control your freedom and your privacy.” His son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is definitely against SOPA.
Emergency Contraceptives: Perry signed the Personhood Pledge. I can’t find anything specific from Perry on this issue, but do note that Texas law requires [PDF] hospital emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception information to sexual assault victims.
Biological Evolution: At a campaign event in August, Perry expressed skepticism, saying that evolution is “a theory that’s out there” and that it’s “got some gaps in it.” Perry added, “Well, God is how we got here. God may have done it in the blink of the eye or he may have done it over this long period of time, I don't know. But I know how it got started."
Climate Change: Another skeptic. In October at a campaign event in New Hampshire Perry said, "I don't believe man-made global warming is settled in science enough."
Shale Gas: Perry is an enthusiast. In an energy policy speech in October, Perry asserted, “Right here in Pennsylvania, and across the state line in West Virginia and Ohio, we will tap the full potential of the Marcellus shale and create another 250,000 jobs by getting the [Environmental Protection Agency] out of the way. While Marcellus shale is today’s opportunity, the deeper Utica shale formations offer equally vast potential with more jobs over the horizon for Pennsylvania and its neighbors.”
Safety of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste: Generally supports. In 2008, Perry asked for federal loan guarantees to back the construction of two new nuclear plants for the NRG Energy’s South Texas project. In October, he told Fox News that he had changed his position on federal loan guarantees to energy projects and now opposes them. In the Las Vegas candidate debate, Perry agreed with Romney and Paul and opposed the Yucca Mountain waste facility.
Space Exploration: In July, Perry issued a press release criticizing the Obama administration for shutting down the space shuttle program. Perry vaguely added, “It is time to restore NASA to its core purpose of manned space exploration, and to define our vision for 21st Century space exploration, not in terms of what we cannot do, but instead in terms of what we will do.”
SOPA: I cannot find a specific statement from Perry on this issue, but the Texas Tribune reports that Perry opposes the bill.
Most of the candidates for the Republican nomination appear to be against emergency contraception; skeptical of biological evolution and climate change; think that nuclear power is safe and has a role in producing energy in the U.S., but against storing the industry's wastes in a facility most scientists think safe; in favor of developing shale gas production; make space exploration something of a policy afterthought; and don't want to fetter the Internet. On the first three issues, the candidates' positions align with the views of the Christian right which plays a big role in Republican party primary politics. However sincere their beliefs, this tilt may come back to haunt the eventual nominee since majorities of the independent voters needed to win the election in November do not share those views on emergency contraception, biological evolution, and climate change.
Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.