This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," November 16, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON, HOST: A bipartisan group of senators has released a plan to reduce our dependency on oil, slashing it by more than 10 percent within 10 years.
Here to talk about the proposal is Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, of course, the famous Democrat from Connecticut.
Welcome to both senators.
Sen. Brownback, if I can go to you first, is a 10 percent reduction over 10 years really slashing our oil dependency?
U.S. SEN. SAM BROWNBACK, R-KAN.: Well, it is, given the current trend lines. Our current trend lines would see us increasing it by more than double of that of where we currently are to get there.
And I think this is actually a fairly conservative goal. Being a conservative, I like to do things that way. But I think if this plan is put into place and accepted by the consuming public, which I think it can be, you could see those numbers go down even more than what that projection is.
GIBSON: Sen. Lieberman, what's in this plan? What are we going to be asked to do?
U.S. SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, D-CONN.: Well, the first thing is we set some goals for the federal government to make sure the country reaches. And it's a 2.5 million barrel reduction a day in 10 years and a 10 million barrel reduction a day in 25 years.
And we're coming at this not only because dependence on foreign oil really hurts our economy, as we saw when the price of oil shot up after Hurricane Katrina, but because we worry about our national security if we're dependent on a few nations that may not be our friends to supply us with the fuel that keeps us going.
So we're focused on transportation, John, because that's where we use most of our oil, not in the production of electricity.
And we're saying to any of the automobile manufacturers over the next period of years: You've got to get to a point where half of the cars you sell in America are hybrids, hybrid plug-ins or biofuels.
And that's the real change here, to make sure that we start to use homegrown fuel, grown from ...
GIBSON: I think you're talking about Sen. Brownback's state, Kansas.
BROWNBACK: I want us to be a lot more dependent on the Midwest instead of the Middle East, and we can be.
GIBSON: Well, why aren't we?
I mean, Willie Nelson's got this station, this gas station down South where I live in Dallas called Biodiesel and, you know, it's evidently a mixture of your corn oil and diesel.
So why don't we see more of that around, anyway?
BROWNBACK: A lot of it has been economic competitiveness.
At $20 a barrel oil, many of these biofuels have difficulty competing. When you get to $40 a barrel, $50 or $60 a barrel oil, they can compete. So I think you're going to see many more of them coming along.
And plus, what Joe is talking about here is we're talking about getting our fleet of cars running on flex fuels — these other fuels — or off of electricity.
And we don't have to invent new technologies to get this done. This is really the market acceptance of these technologies that are currently developed and in place. We can do this.
GIBSON: Sen. Lieberman, are you setting out to kill SUVs?
LIEBERMAN: Well, not personally.
But, you know, we have to force the automobile manufacturers to give people more good alternatives that are fuel-saving or use other fuels than gasoline which comes from oil because I said in my remarks Wednesday, we're in danger, though we're a great superpower, of making ourselves like Gulliver in Lilliput, a giant tied down by smaller nations just because those nations have oil.
And I think this bill has some real incentives to companies to build the factories that will convert the corn, the sugar cane, the other agricultural products into fuel, and then build the pumps around the country and force the auto companies to give the consumers a choice.
In the end, we're going to pay less because other countries are not going to be setting the price of the fuel we use for our cars. And we're going to be a lot more independent.
GIBSON: Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Brownback, a Democrat and Republican getting together to help us on oil.
Senators, thank you both.
BROWNBACK: Thank you.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
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