It's always entertainting the way certain politicians talk about environmental issues. This weird exchange in Congress is no different. The scene is a committee hearing on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), a notorious drilling advocate and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), a huge proponent of anti-environmental legislation, battling with historian Douglas Brinkley.
YOUNG: I will tell you if you ever want to see an exercise in futility, it's this hearing. That side's already made up its mind. This side has already made up its mind. And I call it garbage, Dr. Rice, that comes from the mouth...
BRINKLEY: Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a university. I know you went to Yuba College and you couldn't graduate.
YOUNG: I'll call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that chair … You just be quiet.
BRINKLEY: You don't own me. I pay your salary.
YOUNG: I'll tell you right now ...
BRINKLEY: I work for the private sector. You work for ...
HASTINGS: Mr. Brinkley, do you want to continue to sit in this panel?
HASTINGS: OK. Then please follow the rules.
Yikes. Of course, this goes into the Congressional Record forever which is pretty awesome. But after the jump is the most telling part from Rep. Young.
YOUNG: And I know what I'm talking about. The Arctic Plain is really nothing. You say it's not the heart -- it is not the heart. It is not the heart. It is part of the most deficit part of the area. And what hurts me the most as you sit there in the Rice University, when the people support drilling for their good and for the good of this nation, as a college professor in an ivory tower you can go up there and camp and spend your time. And I hope you spend a lot of money.
But the reality is this area should be drilled. I've been fighting this battle for 39 years. It was set aside for drilling. Not by the oil companies, but by Henry Scoop Jackson, by Ted Stevens, by the administration because they knew the potential was there. And we did put the safeguards in there that Congress had to vote on it.
Now, you can go all the pontificators you want. That refuge is 19 million acres, 19 million acres. We're talking about less than 3,000 acres, less than -- a little tiny thing. It's like the hair on your head. You pull one hair, you're not going to miss it. And this country is starving itself because we're buying foreign oil.
Now, say that we don't need the Arctic Wildlife Range is wrong. And I'm listening to the people that live there. Not the people that live 400 miles away. Not the people that live in Fairbanks. Not the people who say they represent a certain group when they do not. I'm not saying about that.
I'm saying let's listen to the people that live there. Seventy- six percent of Alaskans support it. And everybody that I know of on that coast, other than a small group of people, say it's the right thing to do because they know it can be done. It's 74 miles from the pipeline, 74 miles from the pipeline.
Mr. Chairman, again, thank you for your interruption. I made a mistake when I said Mr. Rice and I heard the Rice University and that can get in my mind. But like I say, we're here. We're the ones that ask the questions. You answer the questions. And you may not work in the private sector.