This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 10, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Welcome back, everyone. Do you want Saddam Hussein calling the shots? Critics of Iraqi henchmen wasting very little time to say that the latest round of violence in the Middle East proves we've got to change and fast. That we depend way too much on oil from over there.
So it's high time we started drilling for it over here. Leading that cause, Alaska Senator Frank Murkowski. Senator, always good to have you.
SEN. FRANK MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: So this is actually the wind at your back, this latest problems developing in the Middle East, to look at an alternative. That's what you're arguing; right?
MURKOWSKI: Well, reality is that Saddam Hussein has come out with an embargo on the production of oil from Iraq. And we were importing about well a little over a million barrel as day. Then he's asked Iran, Libya, very outspoken, and said we have got to use oil as a weapon. Remember the last weapon we saw was an airplane, used in the twin towers, an airplane used on the Pentagon.
Now they are talking about using oil as weapons. Saddam Hussein is paying the suicide bombers, it was 10,000, now $25,000.
CAVUTO: Senator, you're saying...
MURKOWSKI: Hey, when are we going to wake up?
CAVUTO: You're saying look for alternatives. And look in your state for alternatives, but many environmentalists, sir, as you know, in your state are the ones arguing go slow here, it will get the caribou ticked off.
MURKOWSKI: Let's be realistic. There's no scientific evidence to suggest we can't initiate exploration development. Could we do it in the wintertime? Not when the caribou are traversing through. That is a scientific fact. And to suggest that it will take ten years is ridiculous. We've got the pipeline already built. We could have oil production in a couple of years if we expedited the permitting process.
Some say it is a six-month supply. Come on, Neil, that is like saying there would be no other oil produced in the United States, are imported for a period of six months. Prudhoe Bay has been producing 25 percent of the total crude oil produced for the last 27 years. It is in decline now, but if we can open up If we can open up ANWR, we have the capacity, currently in the pipeline to double production.
CAVUTO: And how likely does it look, senator, if you had to handicap it?
MURKOWSKI: Well, I'd say it is 50/50 right now, but you know members are going to have to make a decision, do we want to reduce our dependence on oil from the Mideast, a tinderbox, or do we want to develop our reserves here at home? We can reduce our dependence, we can keep these jobs home.
It's win, win, win for everybody but America's extreme environmental community who has been using this as a cash cow milking it for all it's worth. They are entitled to that. This is a democracy, but now members are going to have to stand up and either vote on what's right for America, or appeasement of America's extreme environmental community. Those are the facts.
CAVUTO: But are you worried in the meantime as we debate whether we open up Prudhoe Bay and other areas beyond this and ANWR, that we have to depend still on the Saudis to make up for the oil the Iraqis are taking off the market, and we are still very beholden to the Middle East for many years to come.
MURKOWSKI: That's correct. Do we want to reduce that? What kind of a message would we send to the Saudi oil cartel if we said hey, we mean business about reducing our dependence on Mideast oil? That would say something and conservation, obviously we can do a better job in that, but remember, the world and the United States move on oil.
And you don't fly in and out of Washington D.C. on hot air. Somebody has to produce, it has to come from somewhere. Why should we bring it overseas from irresponsible nations like Iraq at the same time we're enforcing a no-fly zone, we are placing our young men and women's lives at risk in doing. He takes our money and develops a missile capability, a biological capability and aims it at Israel.
CAVUTO: Would you rather, senator...
MURKOWSKI: Every time we go to the gas pump we are helping Saddam Hussein.
CAVUTO: Real quickly, would you rather he be dead?
MURKOWSKI: Well, I am not going to make a moral judgment. What I can tell you, though, it is the national security interest of the United States to lessen dependence on someone who finances terrorism.
CAVUTO: All right Senator Murkowski thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
MURKOWSKI: You bet.
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