On ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos failed to correct a series of misleading statements by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) concerning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and potential sources of oil off the coastal United States.
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During an interview with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on the May 7 broadcast of ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos failed to correct a series of misleading statements by DeLay concerning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and potential sources of oil off the coastal United States. DeLay claimed that "Democrats have stopped us from developing American oil and American gas in this country. They've stopped us from drilling in Alaska, off the offshore of Florida and California. ... If President Clinton had signed drilling in ANWR back in the '90s, we would be enjoying a million barrels a day more today, and that would have an impact on gas prices." Contrary to DeLay's claim, the 2006 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) report released in February by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) concluded that, if ANWR had been opened for development in 2005, daily production would have peaked at 780,000 barrels per day in 2024, falling to 650,000 barrels per day by 2030. In addition, a Department of Energy study conducted by EIA found that oil production in ANWR would have a relatively insignificant impact upon crude oil prices. The report concluded that drilling in ANWR would reduce oil prices by 30 to 50 cents per barrel by 2025, "relative to a projected 2025 world oil price of $27 per barrel" The report also noted that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) "could countermand any potential price impact of ANWR coastal plain production by reducing its exports by an equal amount."
Further, contrary to DeLay's claim that Democrats were responsible for blocking drilling off the coast of Florida, The Washington Post reported on May 30, 2002, that it was the Bush administration that blocked drilling there. The administration first proposed drilling in 2001 but then reversed course after Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who ran for re-election in 2002, objected:
Last year, [then-Interior Secretary Gail] Norton floated a proposal -- developed in the Clinton administration -- to open 6 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas leasing. But after Gov. Bush objected, she scaled back the plan to forestall drilling within 100 miles of the Florida coast. The exception was the Destin Dome area off Pensacola, where Chevron, Conoco and Murphy Oil were in litigation over leases approved 16 years ago. Under yesterday's deal, the companies will relinquish seven of their nine leases and suspend the other two until at least 2012.
The Washington Post article also reported that according to "several environmental activists ... President Bush had been far less eager to block drilling in states where his brother isn't governor."
From the May 7 broadcast of ABC's This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president is talking now about tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, investigating price gouging by oil companies, maybe raising fuel efficiency standards. Do you think that's the right approach?
DELAY: I mean, I think he's talking about more than just that. I don't think either of those will have an impact on lowering demand or, or increasing supply. We are -- we are paying the price of Democrat policies. The Democrats have stopped us from developing American oil and American gas in this country. They've stopped us from drilling in Alaska, off the offshore of Florida and California, the huge reserves of oil shell and natural gas in the West. They stopped it. If President Clinton had signed drilling in ANWR back in the '90s, we would be enjoying a million barrels a day more today, and that would have an impact on gas prices.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Relatively small, but you are -- clearly are paying a price also with your base right now. And I want to show you --
DELAY: It's not relatively small. A million barrels a day is pretty significant. It's exactly what we're losing in the Middle East.