This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 24, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: For now some other developments of the political nature that did move the markets, something about full and unfettered inspections. Iraq promising them, now will they deliver them. Something tells me that the oil markets are not quite trusting Saddam Hussein. He says he'll allow inspections but oil prices keep moving up, north of 31 bucks a barrel for a while today. That seems to mean war or no, oil prices will continue headed north. And that has some in the administration clamoring for an Iraq alternative, revisiting oil exploration in sacred environmental cows like Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But joining us now, a guy who says he doesn't want to see that happen, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, who says we shouldn't let the White House use Saddam Hussein as a cover for an environmental war.
Congressman, thanks for coming.
REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D-MA), ENERGY & COMMERCE CMTE.: Thanks for having me on, Neil.
CAVUTO: What do you make of this push on the part of the administration to revisit this, especially now, especially with an attack on Iraq imminent?
MARKEY: Well, under all estimates, the first barrel of oil cannot be produced from the Alaska refuge for 10 years. And under any scenario, Saddam Hussein will be long gone. If they wanted to do anything about sending a signal to the markets that they were serious about our imported oil, then they would look at where we consume oil. And 70 percent of all oil that we consume in the United States goes into gasoline tanks. But in this bill, they actually have a provision which takes us backwards in terms of fuel efficiency. And we will become more dependent upon imported oil, not less dependent.
CAVUTO: Why wouldn't you be open to at least exploring some of this region? The area we're talking about is 19 million acres. The area that would be in question is 1 1/2 million acres. The actual measure approved by the Republican House, Congressman, is limiting drilling activity to about 2,000 acres. That does not seem like a big onerous attack on caribou.
MARKEY: Well, first of all, the area that the two thousand acres would cover would be a huge swath of Alaska. It would be like saying that the Beltway only covers this small area if you lined it up right next to each other. But stretching out the Beltway, it covers a wide vast area. The same thing would be true for all these oil rigs, for all the roads, all the storage areas that would have to be constructed. It would be a vast area. Again, we have to get back to the fact that the president is essentially saying that we are technological midgets, that we have no capacity to improve the fuel economy standards of the SUVs and the automobiles that we drive in our country, that the 70 percent of the oil which we import for that purpose can never change, even at the same time, that the same administration says that we can build rockets that can shoot down Russian or Chinese missiles.
CAVUTO: But Congressman, let's think, can you strike a deal here? And I'm not one to negotiate a deal with you on the air, but if the administration says, all right, let's try to work on conservation measures, let's revisit something the Democrats are keen on, and that is maybe looking at some of these climatic changes that you guys have been pushing, would you then be more amenable to opening up at least some of ANWR given the fact that we're too dependent on that guy Saddam?
MARKEY: The president does not obviously believe we have a national oil emergency, if he's not willing to call upon, as Gerald Ford did in 1975, for a doubling of the fuel economy standards of our automobiles. It went then from 13 to 27 miles per gallon. Give Gerald Ford credit. This president is.
CAVUTO: But can you conserve your way, Congressman, out of this crisis alone?
MARKEY: If we dramatically reduce the amount of fuel as we did from 1976 to 1986 in automobiles, we would put OPEC back flat on its back as we did. We lowered the price of oil from $35 dollars a barrel down do $12 a barrel from 1976 to 1986. If the president is serious, then he will take the very same measure dealing with SUVs and automobiles once again. Again, if we're going to send the Army Reserves over to Iraq for national security purposes as well, we should be deploying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the oil markets like war. The price of oil always goes up. The stock market hates war, the value of the stock market always goes down. If he wants to control the oil markets he's going to have to deploy the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. His father refused to do so for six months in 1990 and I think this president is going to fall into the same trap. And our economy is going to pay a terrible price in a double dip recession which is going to be the consequence of his lack of attention to the economic security of the American people even as he looks at the national security.
CAVUTO: Congressman, Ed Markey, final word on the subject, thank you very much, Democrat from Massachusetts..
MARKEY: Can I also say that Boston College is playing St. Bonaventure in basketball on December 4, at Conte Forum.
CAVUTO: Do you want me to come and see, or...
MARKEY: Well, I think Boston College is going to win that game. Just want to let you know.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you for the update, Congressman, I appreciate that. Undergrad, by the way, I went to St. Bonaventure. Obviously he's a Boston fan.
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