All-Star Panel: Energy and the State of the Union

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. That has to be part of an all of the above plan.


JACK GERARD, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: Over the past four years, the leases and permits on federal lands in the United States onshore have gone down over 30 percent. The major increases in oil and natural gas in the United States over the past four years have been on private land.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, a lot of talk about the president's talk of energy in the State of the Union address. And one thing that wasn't mentioned, the Keystone pipeline. A lot of controversy about that. Still hasn't been approved by this administration. Here is what the Senate minority leader said about it, quote, "The president spoke about energy infrastructure but he didn't mention the Keystone pipeline. He chose the nation's biggest stage to promote something that's inefficient and costly, like solar panels, instead of something that is proven and reliable -- and domestically produced -- like coal."

We're back with the panel. Charles, energy -- there was a conflicting message in that State of the Union address. Is the president selling it?  Is he getting across that message? And is he winning on this issue?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think he is losing on this issue. The Keystone pipeline, there is no, there is not a single rational argument against it. The only argument is that it's rather dirty oil in Alberta, and if you don't build the pipeline it will stay in ground, which of course is ridiculous.

The Canadians have announced – they have said openly if it doesn't head south it will head west. The Chinese are hungry for all that energy. Canada's not going to leave it in ground. So it's not going to have any effect on the climate. So there is nothing left here against the symbolism.

And the fact that Obama after he delayed this until after an election for obviously political reasons, securing his base, after he win election he doesn't say anything about it. I found it shocking in the State of the Union address, leaving it out there hanging.

He has the vision of this green universe which is going to happen in 100 years.  In the meantime, we are going to suffer. He pretended in the State of the Union address yesterday that somehow by going into green energy we're going to reduce our cost for energy, which is precisely the opposite. The reason that he has to give all these subsidies is because wind and solar and all the other stuff, and algae, is not self-supporting – it is much more expensive. And if you force it on the consumer you raise rates, you make life increasingly expensive. So I think it's a complete contradiction against reality, and ultimately reality wins.

BAIER: You know Juan, the administration approved it once, moved it to a less controversial route, but it has to be approved again. There's nothing standing in the way now that the governor of Nebraska has approved it. Environmentalists are upset that actually Keystone wasn't mentioned last night.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: For a different reason than Dr. Krauthammer. They want it stopped.

BAIER: Right. So there were protests today, in fact, about Keystone. So the issue splits. There are unions who are supporting this Keystone pipeline being put in place because it creates high-paying jobs. So this is a real conundrum for this White House that seems not ready deal with this.

WILLIAMS: They're not ready to deal with it because, you know, the green folks have money and they have invested in the Obama administration.

BAIER: That is Darryl Hannah, by the way. She got arrested today.

WILLIAMS: And, let me just say that there were real reasons. As you suggested the governor of Nebraska said this is going to cause problems with aquifer in Nebraska. There was a real issue. Now they have a different route. The governor has approved it, as you said. The second thing to say is this is not necessarily oil for the United States even if it goes through the United States. And it is a job creator, which is why in the polls now, most Americans support having the XL pipeline approved.

But the question then becomes what does this say in terms of America's energy future and about the environment and about the potential damage to this, this pipeline would do to the country? And from the president's perspective, I think there is the political cost of going against the green energy folks. And secondly in the context --

BAIER: What political cost? It's his second term.


WILLIAMS: Political cost? I think the political cost to him and to Democrats --

BAIER: He isn't running again, Juan.

WILLIAMS: It doesn't matter. I think that in terms of --

BAIER: His legacy?

WILLIAMS: I was about to say. You are such a pressing source.

BAIER: I'm pressing.

WILLIAMS: You are. Because I think in terms of his legacy, he is moving towards the idea that America has to be in competition, you said this last night, with the Chinese, the Germans, the Brazilians, who are in the alternative energy field. And if we get left behind those jobs won't be coming to the United States. And if you continue to invest in the traditional coal-based, oil-based sources of energy, you are not moving the ball forward.

KRAUTHAMMER: China is waiting to swallow the oil that Obama is denying the United States.

BAIER: Quickly. Jonah?

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: This is, this is a placation of a truly limousine liberal crowd that loves these issues. In terms of actual energy production, all the stuff that he is pouring billions into, that donors gave him and all the rest is a rounding error of what real energy is all about. You have more charging stations in Tennessee than you have electric cars right now. If you improve efficiency of how you burn coal by 1 percent, it dwarfs by 30 fold all the stuff you get from solar and green energy.

BAIER: We have much more to talk about this issue, and we will. That is it for this panel. But stay tuned as we reveal the newest crime fighter to lend a hand to one of America's toughest sheriffs.  

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