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Hannity's All-Purpose Energy Plan: Drill in ANWR

Reported by Ellen - August 10, 2006 -

In response to the latest spike in oil prices, Sean Hannity and FOX News contributor Charles Payne seized the moment to promote the all-purpose Republican energy plan: Drilling in ANWR. Alan Colmes and opposing guest Tyson Slocum did an excellent job of arguing against it but nobody mentioned, much less discussed, the competing Democratic bill aimed at developing alternative energy.

About two weeks ago, yet another Republican-sponsored bill for drilling in ANWR was introduced in the House. I have no problem with the show debating pending legislation, even if it has no chance of passing before the mid-term elections in November. But I do have a problem with the show ignoring an alternative Democratic bill aimed at the same issues.

Sean Hannity started the discussion by playing a montage of experts saying - falsely, according to Hannity - that drilling in ANWR would not be fruitful. Funny how all the speakers were Democrats when seven Republican senators have also opposed drilling. Four Democratic senators supported it.

Hannity announced that ANWR would produce “three times the amount of oil on the low estimate.” I’m guessing he meant three times the 400,000 barrels of oil a day that BP has announced it will shut down, or 1,200,000 barrels.

Guest Charles Payne, a FOX News business contributor, said, “There could be 17 billion barrels (in ANWR)."

I’m terrible at arithmetic and it’s much too late for me to try to work out the numbers but I do know that Hannity has a history of lying about ANWR's productivity and I also know that in the government's best case scenario, oil from ANWR would provide about 6% of the amount of our imported petroleum in 20-30 years after the onset of production. Nevertheless, Payne and Hannity insisted it was a solution to the current high cost of oil.

The other guest was Tyson Slocum, of Public Citizens Energy Project. Slocum was a great guest. He interrupted Hannity to say, “Sean, what are you talking about? … We produce more oil here in America than the entire countries of Iran and Kuwait, combined… Drilling in ANWR is not going to do anything.”

Hannity tried, but failed, to interrupt and talk over him. Slocum added, “And I also listen to John McCain on this, Senator DeWine, Senator Norm Coleman – all who voted against drilling in ANWR.”

Alan Colmes jumped in to say that the real cause for the rise in the price of oil was instability in the Middle East. He continued, sarcastically, “All that great oil Iraq was going to produce. That really helped the prices as well… (the war) has caused nothing but instability and that’s why the oil prices are going up.”

Payne said that a lot of the instability comes from Americans putting money in the pockets of “bad people” by purchasing oil from them. “How about taking the money away from those people, you know?”

Colmes asked, “How about alternative energy sources? Isn’t that what we should be developing and stop depending upon all this oil? …Six months worth of oil out of ANWR isn’t going to solve the problem.”

“Are you kidding me?” Payne asked in the strident way that nearly every FOX News conservative debates. “First of all, there’s not a magic bullet, OK? (ANWR’s) part of the magic bullet.”

Tyson Slocum said that more drilling is not going to reduce the cost of oil.

Speaking of strident… Hannity interrupted to shout, “That’s insane! Where did you learn economics from?” Comment: Isn’t he supposed to be quiet during Colmes’ portion of the interview?

Slocum continued, “Until we deal with demand, until we use oil more efficiently…”

Payne claimed, “We have the oil. It’s in our backyard, let’s go out and get it. Why are we giving our money away to people that hate us?”

You can read more about the Democratic proposal here.