Bush Vs. Gore On Energy

This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, May 18, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order last night's entire transcript.

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COLMES: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Alan Colmes.

Coming up, why did this kid's shirt get him in trouble at school? We'll ask him in just a bit.

First, our top "Newsmaker" on this Friday. At the height of the campaign, presidential candidate Ralph Nader said there was little difference between voting for Al Gore and George W. Bush. Does he still

believe that?

Joining us now from Washington, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, the author of "The Ralph Nader Reader."

Mr. Nader, nice to have you with us. Good to see you.


COLMES: Now that you -- we know the Bush energy plan, do you still maintain that there wouldn't have been much difference between Bush and Gore?

NADER: Oh, no, there's a difference. Al Gore wouldn't have proposed drilling in ANWR, and Bush is proposing drilling in ANWR. But the Democrats have enough people in the House and Senate to block it, if they really stick together, which is problematic for...

COLMES: That's what they -- but, you know, Al Gore would be outspoken...

NADER: Well...

COLMES: If Al Gore, indeed, had run -- in fact, Dick Morris has said this a number of times. If he, indeed, had put that up front and talked about energy more, he might be sitting in the White House today.

NADER: That's right.

Well, you know, for eight years, because there were no gas lines at the gas stations, there was very little done in energy by Clinton-Gore. It wasn't really a campaign issue in '96 or the year 2000. There are

indications that Gore was supportive of -- of expanding nuclear power and, of course, his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under Clinton-Gore told California to forget it, they wouldn't put caps on these gouging wholesale electric prices which were going through the roof.

COLMES: Look, I'll acknowledge there hasn't been an energy problem probably since Jimmy Carter, but now we look at an emerging policy that is -- certainly is very good for the big oil companies, for the gas companies, for the coal companies, for all the big contributors of George W. Bush, and

as you've been more outspoken than anybody about corporate welfare, this has got to gall you.

NADER: Yeah. Absolutely. If you look very carefully at the 170 pages of the Bush energy proposals, it's like a blizzard of tax loopholes for oil, gas, coal, and nuclear companies, as if they don't have enough tax loopholes, as if we haven't, as taxpayers, subsidized these industries for decades under both Democrat and Republican administrations.

You know, for example, just recently, Bush was talking about restrictions on expansion of new refineries in this country, that there hasn't been a new refinery built. I called up the American Petroleum

Institute the other day, and they informed me that the oil companies have shut down -- shut down -- in the last 15 years 100 refineries...

COLMES: Right.

NADER: ... because they were -- had oversupplied, and they were chronically depressed. So...

COLMES: Also...

NADER: ... you've got all these sites now where these shutdown refineries once operated, and you don't need any unique environmental loopholes to get them going again.

COLMES: Also, the report's very inconsistent. For example, it praises Pennsylvania and Texas for developing homegrown power. Then a few pages later, it goes on to talk about how we need a national power grid, which would only make sense if states didn't do it themselves. So lots of inconsistencies if you really go through the report.

NADER: Yeah. There is -- the real approach to energy -- and I've been in the energy (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for over 30 years -- is threefold.

One is you emphasize energy efficiency all the way from the power plants and the motor vehicles to appliances to heating, lighting, air-conditioning systems. We are the biggest wasters of energy because the technology that's sold to us, like cars that average 24-1/2 miles per gallon, the lowest since 1980, are very wasteful, and, of course, energy waste on behalf of consumers means more energy sales by the oil and gas and coal and nuclear industries. They benefit from technology that wastes energy.

The second thing is we've got to have rate regulation. It worked for decades. Electricity rates should not be commodities for speculation, ripping off Californians where, in San Diego, which is just the beginning, people have found their $80-a-month bill go to $500 for electricity.

And then, third, we've got to move toward renewable energy. Solar energy comes in terms of wind power. That's beginning to come on here.

HANNITY: Hey, Ralph...

NADER: Solar -- solar thermal, passive solar architecture, and so on. You've got to get people...

HANNITY: Ralph, if you read -- if you read the entire report, which I have now...

NADER: Yeah.

HANNITY: ... all -- a lot -- all these things are mentioned in his report, and 45 out of 105 recommendations -- they go into deep detail about ways we can conserve more and be more energy efficient, and there's a lot of solutions.

But there's one reality here, Ralph. Our needs are going to grow significantly in the next 20 years by all accounts, and we don't have the capacity to deal with that, and that's why we have rolling blackouts and so on going on in California. We imported in the early '70s 33 percent of our oil. Now we're importing almost 60 percent of our oil.

We have by even the lower estimates the second largest oil well in America. We want to deal with .001 percent to get the oil out of there in a wilderness, and you guys don't support that. I don't understand that.

NADER: Sean, let me -- let me have you understand.

HANNITY: Help me out, Ralph.

NADER: The entire North Slope of Alaska, except for that refuge, is open for drilling, and the oil companies haven't even drilled in the areas that they've been allowed to drill for 15 to 20 years yet. So why not -- why don't they drill in the areas where they now can drill, where they think there is oil? That's number one.

Number two, would you support...

HANNITY: I agree with that.

NADER: Would you support export of Alaska oil to Japan and other Asian countries?

HANNITY: I -- I -- listen, I agree with you. It...

NADER: OK. And then...

HANNITY: I agree with you on this point, and I don't...


HANNITY: ... I think we should stop that, but, more importantly, if you look at -- from the '70s to today, 33 percent to 60 percent -- our oil is imported, and you consider the volatility of the situation in the Middle East, for national-security reasons, never mind convenience-lifestyle reasons, we have got to be more energy independent and not depend on Saddam Hussein who we still import a lot of oil from.

And this is -- let me read you this one fact. U.S. Geological Survey estimates oil in ANWR between 5.7-billion and 16-billion barrels of oil. That would be on the low side the second largest oil field ever discovered in the U.S., and as I pointed out earlier, .001 percent of the refuge. It's a wilderness as we are now showing on TV.

NADER: First of all, Sean, they haven't found any oil yet. These are just wild estimates. But even if you...

HANNITY: They're not wild estimates.

NADER: But even if you take your estimates, that's just a few months consumption in terms of the United States oil. There's a much better way to reduce energy inde -- dependence, and that is -- and the figure is 57 percent, not 60 percent imported oil. The better way is to do what we should have done years ago, and that's double the fuel efficiency of motor vehicles. I mean, Clinton -- Clinton said...

HANNITY: I don't have a problem with that.

NADER: Yeah, but -- but here's the point. In those 170 pages that you read of Bush's program, he did not demand stronger fuel-efficiency standards. He said, "We're going to study it some more." Listen, in 1974, under Nixon, the Department of Transportation said that, by today, we should have 50-mile-per-gallon motor vehicles.

HANNITY: Ralph, that's easy, but, you know, what kind of car do you drive, Ralph?

NADER: I don't own a car.

HANNITY: You don't own any car?

NADER: No. That's the way I'm -- I'm more efficient that way.

HANNITY: Do you fly in planes? Do you take public transportation? Look, Americans have -- have established a way of life that they don't want to see changed, and I know it's easy for people to just come on national TV and say, "Well, we're going to just double the standards, double the gas

mileage." Well, first of all, it takes a lot of innovation, a lot of research, a lot of money, and that's a lot of demands, increased price for all the products that you're describing, and that's...

NADER: Wait a minute.

HANNITY: That all ends up on the backs of the hard-working taxpayers of the country.

NADER: Sean...

HANNITY: They'll pay for that technology.

NADER: Hey, Sean -- Sean, that's a nice stump speech. There's no way...

HANNITY: It's the nice truth, too.

NADER: There's no better way to save the family budget than to get into a car when you're going to work and have the car give you 50, 60 miles per gallon.

HANNITY: Alan has a Yugo.

NADER: Now wait. Wait.

COLMES: That's not true.

NADER: Already -- Toyota and Honda are coming in already even without these regulations, which should have been established...

COLMES: Ralph, we're just out of time. You know what I've got? I've got the A train. That's what I use. Ralph, nice to see you. Thank you for doing the show.

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