Transcript: Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 14, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, with energy prices a big concern these days, my next guest wants the president to stop filling up our emergency reserves.

With us now is U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman in New Mexico.

Senator, thank you for joining us.

SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN, D-N.M.: Good to be with you.

CAVUTO: You know, I guess your argument is, the reserves are mostly full anyway. We don’t need it. We need to address more of the fact of these higher prices. Is that it?

BINGAMAN: Well, yes. The reserve is 98 percent full, in fact. And it’s never been that full in the history of the country. And my argument is twofold. One is, this is oil that ought to be kept on the markets. It would help to keep the prices from going high, or higher than they already are.

And it’s just bad economics to be buying oil at these kinds of prices. And the government is essentially, every time it takes this oil and puts it into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, it is agreeing to buy oil at these extremely high prices.

CAVUTO: But that’s assuming, Senator, that they are going to go still higher.

BINGAMAN: Well, that is assuming that. And, historically since oil has never been this high price before, I think that’s a reasonable assumption to make.

CAVUTO: Well, sir, I talked to a number of your counterparts about a year ago at this time, when we were at about $36, $37 oil. And they were saying, you can’t keep buying it at these high prices. You can’t keep buying at these high prices. Now that would seem like a bargain-basement buy, right?

BINGAMAN: Well, it would, obviously. But, as I say, we’re 98 percent full right now in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We’re not significantly affecting our long-term security by continuing to buy more oil and take it off the market. So, we should stop, the sooner the better.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you, sir, do you think that just stopping adding oil to the reserves leads to the price going down? After all, Saudi Arabia has opened a spigot. They’re producing more than they said they would. We’ve seen much of OPEC simply opening up the spigot as much as they could. And, yet, these prices have climbed. Now, this last week, they’ve slowed a little bit.

But what do you make of that, that maybe this is something over which day-to-day control is next to impossible?

BINGAMAN: Well, I would agree that there are a lot of factors impacting the price of oil. And, clearly, we need to be encouraging our allies to produce more to keep up with demand. There’s a lot of increase demand in Third World countries, particularly in China and India.

So, all those are all major factors. I’m just saying we need to identify the few things that we can do ourselves to help moderate the impact of this. And we ought to do them.

CAVUTO: Senator Jeff Bingaman, appreciate it, sir. Thank you very much.

BINGAMAN: Good talking to you.

CAVUTO: Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico from Capitol Hill.

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