Weekend Watchdog Wrap-up

Terrance Heath

This Sunday was a real head-scratcher for the Watchdog. Depending on how you look a it we 0-for-3, because none of our questions were asked. On the other hand, maybe we 2-for-3, since two of our questions were answered even though they weren’t asked.

On ABC’s This Week George Stephanopolous turned to Red Markey, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, during the debate about offshore drilling. But instead of asking our question, George asked about exploration and drilling on public lands, giving Markey a chance to pooh-pooh the idea. Ironically, doing so, Markey underscored that exploration comes before drilling, and we don’t find oil everywhere we look.

MARKEY: … Let me give you an example. Over half the leases in the Gulf of Mexico are Out in the deep water. We drilled 296 Wells in deep water. Only 21% ended up having any commercially available [oil].

It then fell to economist Jeffrey Sachs to remind the panel that any talk about offshore drilling is really a distraction from the problem Americans are facing today.

SACHS: That’s why this is a distraction. It’s 10 to 12 years off. A small amount compared to the world balance. … My point is that if we’re going to get serious about this we have to do the arithmetic, and the President got us distracted in a useless debate about the offshore, continental shelf. This is a tiny part of the puzzle.

On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer didn’t get around to asking McCain advisor Carly Fiorina our question about whether offshore drilling will really impact gas prices, but Gov. Bill Richardson answered it anyway.

Gov. RICHARDSON: Well, I was energy secretary and I can tell you that every bipartisan administration has opposed offshore drilling for pristine reasons, the ecosystem, but also the fact that you’re not going to get any of this oil out offshore for the next 10 years and prices won’t go down till the year 2030 according to the Energy Information Agency, which is part of the Department of Energy.

Now, secondly, what we have here is Senator McCain is basically following the policies of George Bush: drill, drill, drill. Now, the oil companies have millions of acres of leases in America and continental US that they need to drill in, but we lead a long-term solution and face the facts, and that is renewable energy, that is fuel conservation, 50 miles per gallon fuel efficiency. We need dramatic efforts to promote conservation, we need dramatic efforts to generate new technology in the areas of solar wind and biomass. The solution is not drill, drill…

Fox News Sunday was the one unquestionable disappointment, since our question to Tom Daschle didnt’ get asked or answered. But two out of three ain’t bad at all, depending on wheher we’re talking questions or answers.

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