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Gov. Bill Richardson on "Hannity & Colmes"

Hannity & Colmes


OBAMA: As president, intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country and -- that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida's coasts.

That's how we can protect our coast line and still make the investments that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good.

And believe me, if I thought there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money who are struggling to fill up their gas tanks by this summer or this year or even the next few years, I would consider it. But it won't. And John McCain knows that.


LOWRY: That was presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama taking a stand against offshore drilling and again likening rival John McCain to President Bush.

With us now is former presidential candidate and former energy secretary under Bill Clinton, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson.

Governor, good to see you. Thanks so much for being with us.


LOWRY: So, Governor, explain to me how this works, because you have Democrats in Congress pounding on OPEC and Saudi Arabians saying they need to drill more. And it's wrong of them to keep down the global supply of oil.

But aren't Democrats doing exactly the same thing by blocking drilling here in the United States?

RICHARDSON: Well, besides the fact that the oceans are fragile ecosystems, the Energy Information Agency, which is part of the Department of Energy, although it's independent, has basically said that prices, fuel prices won't go down with this action until the year 2030. So there is no effect on prices by this action.

The point that we need to make is that we need a comprehensive bipartisan energy strategy that involves, yes, more drilling in the United States and environmentally sustainable way. Fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, 50 miles per gallon. Energy efficiency by 20 percent, renewable technologies and -- you know, look at what the Congress did.

They are ready to go ahead -- the Republican Congress, the Republican president -- and proceed with opening up drilling, but they can't even extend the solar tax credit and wind credit beyond this year.

LOWRY: Well, Governor, let me ask you this.

RICHARDSON: I mean that is.

LOWRY: We've heard this argument before that drilling here in the U.S. will only help 10 years out, 13 years out or so. In fact, that's basically what Bill Clinton said when he vetoed drilling in ANWR 10 or 13 years ago. And now that oil will be coming on line and at least exercising some downward pressure on prices, so I'm just not sure it's a very good reason to oppose drilling because it's only going to help in the long term.

I mean what other policies do you oppose because they'll only help in the long term?

RICHARDSON: Well, you know, Rich, here in the rocky mountain area, I think there's plenty of opportunities for more drilling in the continental of the United States.

My problem with the oil companies, the big ones, is when there's drilling options, they like to do it in Saudi Arabia. They like to do it overseas.

Do it here. Do more refining capacity. More investments in renewable technology by a major energy company.

LOWRY: But aren't you making an argument, though?

RICHARDSON: But instead.

LOWRY: You're making my argument. Let's open up the offshores as well, in ANWR as well. I mean ANWR is just a tiny slice of that huge refuge where you'd actually have drilling. We talk about the environment with the offshore, really have, you know, 4,000 or whatever it is platforms out there in the Gulf of Mexico unaffected by two major hurricanes, Hurricane Rita and Katrina, so I think -- it sounds, Governor, you're coming over to my side than Barack Obama's.

RICHARDSON: No, I'm not doing that. The point here -- look, the point here is that in the Gulf of Mexico, there is new drilling techniques. That is an environmental sustainable effort. The coast of Florida, the coast of California -- these are fragile ecosystems. Bipartisan presidents, Republican and Democrats, legislators have opposed drilling there for those environmental pristine reasons.

We ought to keep that.

See, here's my point, Rich, you can't just drill you're way out of the problem. You have to have a comprehensive strategy that involves appliances, fuel efficiency, energy efficiency, renewable portfolio standard. Thirty percent of all our electricity should be renewable. It means looking into keeping the nuclear option there, clean coal, natural gas.

But, you know, to just drill, drill, drill is not the solution.

COLMES: It's not going to bring down the price.

Governor, it's Alan Colmes. Welcome back to our show. Nice to see you.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

COLMES: Has anybody talked to you about a vice presidential slot or anything?

RICHARDSON: No. I knew you were going to ask that.

LOWRY: He just can't -- he can't help himself, Governor. He can't help himself.

COLMES: I just can't help my self. But you knew you're going to be asked. I mean you know -- I'm sure you have an answer ready to go, right?

RICHARDSON: Well, yes, my answer is I'm very happy as a governor.

COLMES: Governor, I'm saying it along with you.

RICHARDSON: You know, you can't -- you know, you can't turn something like that down obviously but -- and I think we have to elect senator.

LOWRY: Let the record show, Governor, I asked you about substance.

COLMES: This is substance. I'm talking about the vice president of the United States.

Has anybody from the Obama camp reached out to you? Has any of those conversations taken place?

RICHARDSON: I can't talk about that. My point here is that, look, this is something that the senator needs to decide himself on his own timetable. I think you got to wait until around the convention. Otherwise, what are we going to do at the Democratic convention? At least get a little drama in it.


RICHARDSON: But this is something that involves a lot of factors and I just want to see this man elected. I was with him this morning. I'm more convinced that he's the man to unite America. And that's where it should be.

COLMES: Well, a lot of people think you'd be a great choice -- energy secretary, U.N. ambassador, governor, lower taxes. You know, you've got international credentials. You bring a lot to the table.

RICHARDSON: Yes, keep going, keep going.

COLMES: Keep going?

Let's get back to the energy issue. As energy secretary, obviously, you are up on this as well. What about this suggestion that the oil companies have themselves 68 million acres of land that they have leased? Wouldn't that be the first place to explore?

RICHARDSON: Yes. And I don't understand why the major oil companies don't look at more sustainable drilling in the rocky mountain west, in the continental United States. Instead they're always looking at pristine areas.

You know in the Artic this is an environmentally sensitive area with wildlife with all kind of ecosystems. We need to do it in a safe, sustainable way in America, in continental U.S., in the rocky mountains.

COLMES: Right. But they're -- the oil companies -- they're sitting on all these acreage - acres of land, right, that could be explored.

RICHARDSON: That's true. Public and private land. Absolutely.

COLMES: All right, Governor, appreciate your coming on the show. Hope to see you again soon, sir.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

COLMES: Thanks very much.

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