Congresswoman Hilda Solis on Drilling Bill

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 17, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALEXIS GLICK, GUEST HOST: All right, shot down, the House failing to push through its use-it-or-lose-it bill. It would force oil companies to limit their drilling to 68 million acres they already hold leases on — 11 Democrats voting against it.

Reaction now from Democratic Congresswoman Hilda Solis of California.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.

I realize the bill did not get the necessarily votes needed. Will you bring it up a third time, or is this the end of the use-it-or-lose-it bill?

REP. HILDA SOLIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it is to soon to say.

We did get 244 votes to 173. We did not get the two-thirds needed to veto-proof it, but we're not going to give up, because what we're really saying that we are in fact promoting drilling as a major part of this legislation to allow for 10 billion gallons of oil to come out of Alaska in this particular area that I'm putting to here in this graph.

When we look at, strategically, in the U.S., we have 68 million acres in the entire U.S. where we now have permits and leases. We do not see the oil companies, though, rushing to go in there to drill. So, we're saying, we are supportive of it. We want it to happen.

GLICK: Yes, but — OK, Congresswoman, but let's be fair about this. This is the second time you voted on it. You have not received the necessary votes. And the 68 million acres, I mean, there are plenty of experts who will argue those points with you as to whether or not those areas have already been inspected or they are already in the process of trying to take oil out.

You and I both know it takes years to figure that out. And that can't be the only solution to the problem at this time.

SOLIS: Exactly.

And part of our solution also is to look at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That can happen right now. If we were to allow for that supply to come out, and be available to the market, we could reduce the cost of a barrel of oil by almost 10 percent.

In addition, we want to create and open up that natural gas pipeline from Alaska that will help create jobs, but also provide another remedy for supply. So, we're looking at it from a different scope, not just drill- only approach. The addiction to oil, we have to cut it off. That's what the Republicans want.

And we're saying, the Democrats are looking at renewable energies. We're looking at job creation. We're looking at going into these leased areas that are available right now. So, who is lying? Who is not telling the truth? I'm sorry, but the leases are there.


SOLIS: We have Conoco and different companies that are there.

GLICK: All right. Let me go back to you about this.

One of the great frustrations — I talk about this every day with plenty of people on the Hill — is that there are so many different partisan beliefs about how we solve this problem, and everybody is talking about putting an energy bill together, where they're kind of lumping the kitchen sink together. And it does not seem that we can find an area of agreement. You and I both know the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is used in emergency situations.


SOLIS: And are we not in an emergency right now, when the gasoline price is $4.60 right now in a district like mine? We are at a crisis level.

And this happened during Hurricane Katrina, where we went and we dipped into the fund — to the strategic fund then. We can do it right now. We can do it for a short time, but also use other approaches that we had in the drill act. And we have to look at renewable energy. We have to cut our dependency off of fossil fuels. That addiction has to be cut. And you just can't drill your way out of it. It is going to take 10 years, the route that the Republican Party would like to take.

GLICK: But, you know, Congresswoman what do you do when you see — the American taxpayer, the American consumer, when you look at polls right now, you and I both know, they are going to the polls and they're saying, you know what, it is OK. Drill, because, just as you mentioned, it is an emergency situation. They are spending more money on gasoline than they have spent in decades, in fact, probably in history.

SOLIS: Let me show you a map.

This is the entire state of Alaska. This one portion alone will provide 10 billion gallons of oil. We are saying, go ahead and drill. We have the process of permits available. They're there. The lease agreements are in place.

So, we are not lying to the American public. We are saying, you know what? Let's take you up on your agreement here, Republicans. Let's do it. Let's make sure that the oil companies get in now. And let's create that job strength. Let's open up opportunities for the natural gas pipeline. And let's also look at speculation that's been going on, excessive speculation, that also increases the price of gas — of a barrel of oil and gasoline here at home.

GLICK: Right.

OK. Well, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, I want to thank you. Great argument there. I appreciate you joining us.

SOLIS: Thank you. Thank you so much.


GLICK: All right.


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