This morning on the Today Show, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist was interviewed about high gas prices. Frist argued that if Bill Clinton had not vetoed a bill opening up the Artic Refuge to drilling in 1996, prices would be much lower. Frist said, “It’s a matter supply and demand. Right now we would have increase supply if [drilling in the wildlife refuge] had not been vetoed by President Clinton.” Watch it:
Frist presents drilling in the Artic Refuge as a long-term solution to dependence on foreign oil. It’s not. The total amount of oil in the Artic Refuge represents less than a year’s U.S. supply. At peak production, oil from the refuge would only account for 1–2 percent daily consumption. In return, we would permanently damage one of the world’s last true wildernesses.
Of course, the facts never prevented people like Bill Frist from blaming Bill Clinton for their problems.
COURIC: Let me ask you about another aspect of your plan, because I know the $100 rebate is just one component, that it’s tied to another controversial proposal, which allows oil companies to drill for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. That has repeatedly failed to pass Congress. Some question the Republicans’ sincerity because they know in the view of these critics that this won’t pass.
FRIST: Let’s talk about it. We passed it last month in the United States Senate. It has overwhelming — maybe you don’t support it — but it has overwhelming support. We passed it in the legislature back in 1996. President Clinton vetoed it. Unbelievable. Passed the House. Pass the Senate. And if President Clinton had not vetoed that, we would have more than a million barrels of oil coming here every single day. That’s more oil than we import from Saudi Arabia right now. It’s a matter supply and demand. Right now we would have increase supply if it had not been vetoed by President Clinton.
COURIC: I don’t have a position on it.
FRIST: Overwhelming support in this country today and we passed it in the United States Senate.