Sen. Mark Pryor Wants Bi-Partisan Energy Summit

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DAVID ASMAN, GUEST HOST: Well, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying today that oil drilled off America's coast should stay in America.

Now, does that mean he is open to more offshore drilling or is this just another political stunt?

With us now, Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

• Video: Watch David Asman's interview

Senator, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

SEN. MARK PRYOR, D-ARK.: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

ASMAN: So — so, what did Harry Reid really mean? Is he now open for drilling offshore?

PRYOR: Well, you know, I don't know. You would have to ask Senator Reid that. But I actually do support the proposition that this oil that — where we allow the new drilling should come into the U.S. market.

The thing that we're trying to do is to lower gas prices here. Admittedly, if we were to allow some new leasing out in the Gulf of Mexico, say, today, it would take two or three years before it got into the U.S. market. But, still, I think it needs to come to the U.S. market. I think that's a pretty important proposition that Senator Reid talked about.


And, you know, Senator, what — what we talk about when we talk about the price of oil is futures. That's how oil is traded in the world. I mean, you guys inside the beltway know that. So why do people say, well, the oil might not come on line for two years, so oil prices wouldn't be affected until then?

That's not true. That's not the way oil prices change. They — they change on the basis of what people think is going to happen in the future.

PRYOR: Well, I know there's definitely a big futures market. There's also a spot market. And the bottom line is, one of the things that the markets look at is how much oil is available and how much needs to be used.

And, so, you know, it's the old supply-and-demand thing. So, I think actually doing some more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is a good idea. I think it is good public policy. We already have infrastructure out there. And I think it will have a positive impact on the price of oil.

ASMAN: You know, the question of whether there's — compromise is what politics is all about. We had Senator John Cornyn saying, look, he may take a look at this oil market regulation bill. We were just talking to Eric Bolling, a trader, about that, whether there's more regulation needed in the trading market, in exchange for some more leniency, as far as drilling goes on the part of the Democrats.

Is such a deal possible?

PRYOR: I think it is possible. You know, I'm part of a bipartisan group. There are 10 senators, five Democrats, five Republicans. We had a meeting yesterday. About two or three weeks ago, we wrote a letter to our two leaders in the Senate and asked them to have an energy summit here for a day, allow us to get some good ideas.

I believe very strongly that the only way we can fix this is if we work together. Now, the Democrats have a set of ideas. The Republicans have a set of ideas. But we need to come together and take the best ideas, wherever they come from, and take the best ideas and put them to use for this country. So...

ASMAN: And you know what, Senator? We need to show the world that we're serious about getting together and talking about drilling for more oil here. That's going to send a huge message — message overseas to the oil sheiks and everybody that trades overseas on oil.

PRYOR: Well, yes and no.

Let me say this. Of all the oil that's used in the world today, about 25 percent is used in the U.S. So, we're a big market for oil.

ASMAN: Huge.

PRYOR: However, we only have about, roughly — I mean, the estimates vary, but, say, roughly about 5 or so percent of the oil reserves.

So, we can't do this just by drilling our way out of this. And, in fact, I talk to the oil companies all the time and I hear from them all the time. They want to drill. They're in the business of drilling. It's drill, drill, drill. They want to drill in ANWR. They want to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.


ASMAN: Most Americans want to drill, Senator.

PRYOR: They want to drill in the Rocky Mountains.

ASMAN: Most Americans want to drill. It's not just the oil companies.

PRYOR: I understand that. I understand that.

But I think the answer on oil, and to get gas prices lower, is not just drilling. It's really all of the above.


PRYOR: We need to work on efficiency. I think we do need to look at this regulatory reform with the futures market, et cetera.

ASMAN: All right.

PRYOR: And I think we need to put everything on the table and come up with the best set of ideas.

ASMAN: Well, I hope it — I hope we do come up with the best set of ideas for the American people.

Senator Mark Pryor — great to have you on, Senator.

PRYOR: Thank you.

ASMAN: Thanks very much for coming. Appreciate it.

PRYOR: Any time. Thank you.


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