A lot of gas
Since Bush did not talk much about energy policy during the SOTU, or recently, for that matter, here are some excerpts from a March 2001 press conference. No mention of oil anywhere in the press conference, but a lot on gas, even if the question happens to concern black lung disease ...
Q: How about stopping the black lung benefits for families? This is sort of -- to increase some of the benefits of these minors?
THE PRESIDENT: We will work with members of the delegation and make sure people are properly treated. Ours is going to be an administration that makes decisions on science, what's realistic, common-sense decisions.
For example, circumstances have changed since the campaign. We're now in an energy crisis. And that's why I decided to not have mandatory caps on CO2, because in order to meet those caps, our nation would have had to have had a lot of natural gas immediately flow into the system, which is impossible. We don't have the infrastructure able to move natural gas.
We need to have an active exploration program. One of the big debates that's taking place in the Congress, or will take place in the Congress, is whether or not we should be exploring for natural gas in Alaska, for example, in ANWR. I strongly think we should in order to make sure that we've got enough gas to be able to help reduce greenhouse emissions in the country. See, gas is clean, any yet there is not enough of it. And we've got pipeline capacity problems in the country. We have an energy shortage.
I look forward to explaining this today to the leader of Germany as to why I made the decision I made. We'll be working with Germany; we'll be working with our allies to reduce greenhouse gases. But I will not accept a plan that will harm our economy and hurt American workers.
One of the often repeated phrase coming out of Bush's mouth over the years, and still persisting to this day is "I will not negotiate with myself". Nobody has really figured out what Bush means by this, other than an implication of him battling some conflicting inner voices or of general intellectual confusion confronting a naturally belligerent personality.
Q You have mentioned today that there is an energy crisis -- THE PRESIDENT: Yes. -- and yet the budget resolutions that have passed the House and are due to be considered in the Senate next week do not include any revenue from the drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I have talked to the people who have made that decision and they said it was a political fight, they believe unwinnable, that you could not, nor could they, create the majorities in either the House or the Senate to bring about drilling in ANWR, your number one solution, or one of the top solutions to dealing with the energy crisis. Does this not represent a rejection from your own party in dealing with the energy situation?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Major, first of all, there are other areas in the United States on which we can find natural gas. I think it's important for us to open up ANWR. Whether or not the Congress sees it that way is another matter. That's not going to deter me from having, for example, the Interior Secretary look at all lands that are not -- not to be fully protected, for exploration. We've got a plan to make sure that gas comes -- flows freely out of Canada into the United States. I talked to the Prime Minister about that.
What I find interesting is that I think -- we have meaningful discussions about exploration in the Northwest Territories, right across the line, admittedly miles away, as ANWR. But nevertheless, it's a big, vast region of natural gas. And it's important for us to explore, encourage exploration, work with the Canadians to get pipelines coming out of the Northwest Territories to the United States.
I've talked to the President of Mexico about a policy. There's going to be a lot of areas where we can find natural gas in America other than ANWR. It would be helpful if we opened up ANWR. I think it's a mistake not to. And I would urge you all to travel up there and take a look at it, and you can make --Q: On energy -- Let me finish please -- and you can make the determination as to how beautiful that country is.
Q If I may follow up. THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Major.Q If the American people, looking to you to deal with the energy crisis, and you cannot look to your own party to deal with what you and your own advisors have said is a crucial area in which to explore, how can the American public have confidence in your ability to deal with Congress to address the situation you have called today a crisis?
THE PRESIDENT: There's a lot of other areas we can explore, Major, and one of them is to work with the Canadians. There's gas in our hemisphere. And the fundamental question is, where's it going to come from? I'd like it to be American gas. But if the Congress decides not to have for exploration in ANWR, we'll work with the Canadians.
I'm interested in getting more energy supply so that businesses can grow and people can heat their homes. We've got a shortage of energy in America. And it doesn't matter to me where the gas comes from, in the long run, just so long as we get gas moving into the country, so long as we increase supply of natural gas.
And we also need to have clean coal technologies, as well. And we need a full affront on a energy crisis that is real in California and looms for other parts of our country if we don't move quickly.
Thanks to Mike Malloy, for replaying the "There's gas in our hemisphere" audio clip during his Air America Radio show.