Politifact Virginia: Allen's claim on energy issues

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This week in our Politifact Virginia report we take a look at a statement made by former Senator George Allen in Wednesday's U.S. Senate debate.

Allen made this claim about energy resources in America: "We are blessed to be number one in the world in energy resources; Russia is number two."

Is that true? Do we have the collectively have most oil, coal and natural gas of any nation in the world? The reporters of Politifact Virginia say yes it is "true".

Allen bases his data on the Congressional Research Service. They have determined that U.S. leads the way in oil and coal.

The C.R.S. quantifies everything as if it were a barrel of oil, so by taking that into account, they rank the United States number one with close to 973 billion barrels of oil. Russia has 955 billion barrels of oil available.

The U.S. is competitive in undiscovered reserves as well. Coal America is far out on top on coal with 27% of the worlds reserves. The U.S. ranks 4th in natural gas reserves and 11th in oil reserves.

Of course that is based on what scientists and researchers know right now. The search for fossil fuels is always evolving and new fields are discovered and become available.

Regardless of the reality of tomorrow, when it comes to today, Politifact Virginia's Warren Fiske said Allen is right on the mark.

"The reason that the U.S. has the largest is that it has an overwhelming supply of coal. We have more than 27% of the world's supply. Its less in coal and natural gas supplies, but coal is what makes the U.S. number one," he said.

You can see all the information behind this week's Politifact Virginia report on their web site, www.politifactvirginia.com.

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