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MR. CAVUTO: More talk doesn't mean more oil. Ahead of the big meeting, a big, big warning. Oil spiking, OPEC not much budging. The president of the oil cartel saying today it would be "irrational," his words, to call for more oil. All this ahead of Sunday's emergency sit-down in Saudi Arabia. My next guest says what is irrational is OPEC's refusal to pump more. Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews of New Jersey joins me right now.
Congressman, you don't like this.
REP. ANDREWS: I don't. You know, there's a global relationship here. It's not just about oil, and for the oil-exporting countries to refuse to increase supply, I think, is very short-sighted on their behalf.
MR. CAVUTO: All right. What's odd, Congressman, with all due respect is you want them to increase supply and get pumping but you're against it here in the continental United States.
REP. ANDREWS: No, not at all. I'm for more domestic production. You know, there are 68 million acres that oil companies have the right to drill on and they're not drilling on today.
MR. CAVUTO: But a lot of that is undrillable. They got these leases hoping to find the oil, and it didn't materialize. We're going to get that in a little more detail. But some of them have volunteered --
REP. ANDREWS: I don't think that's --
MR. CAVUTO: Some of them have volunteered to swap those lands for lands they now know definitely have oil. Would you grant them that if they could prove that?
REP. ANDREWS: No because they haven't proven that yet. And this claim that this is not a place where they can find oil just has not been proven out. The better claim is that upward to about 20 percent of our oil needs could be filled if they simply drilled on the lands they have the right to drill on right now. They're not doing it because the economics have not been right for them to do that. But I don't think you give somebody more acreage until they exploit the acreage they have right now.
MR. CAVUTO: But if you get more bang for your buck, Congressman, off the Everglades, 50 miles off the Florida coast, 50 miles on the western side of the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico where the Chinese are drilling, where the Cubans are drilling, where even the Germans are drilling, but we can't legally be allowed to be drilling, there's something weird about that, isn't there?
REP. ANDREWS: There's something even weirder about the fact that 80 percent of the land they have the ability to drill on onshore they're not drilling on and 70 percent of the land offshore they have the right to drill on they're not drilling on. It seems to me that the industry has both an opportunity and a responsibility to exploit those assets before they're given more.
MR. CAVUTO: All right. But again to the point that they've looked and explored lands they took leases on in a hunch thinking there would be a lot of oil, there wasn't as much as they thought. We now know from scientific research conducted, as well, sir, by Democratic scientists who now know unequivocally there's a ton of oil in these locations I mentioned. Oil companies have voluntarily said, we'll swap out those leases, give them free-of-charge right back to the government if we can get leases on these lands. You're saying no.
REP. ANDREWS: I'm saying the empirical basis of that claim just doesn't hold water. It's not been conclusively proven that the areas they already have the right to explore have not been fully exploited.
MR. CAVUTO: What if they gave you the proof? What if they gave you the proof?
REP. ANDREWS: Well, that's a different story, but they haven't done that. And smart people don't answer hypothetical questions. That's a hypothetical question. I think it's based on an invalid premise.
MR. CAVUTO: Okay. So in the meantime, you're pushing the Saudis to increase production. It doesn't look like they will. It doesn't look like Congress is making much progress on either energy alternatives which I know your party is very big on or the Republicans erasing subsidies for oil companies which they're big on. So it looks like we're at a Mexican standoff here.
REP. ANDREWS: I don't know that that's true. I know one thing that is definitely true. Nothing that happens in the short term is going to have much of an impact on short-term price. So you know, people around here are focused on November and not on the next five years. And nothing anybody does is going to have much impact in the short run. What's going to have an impact in the longer run, in my view, is to reduce some of the artificial bidding-up of prices in the commodities markets, which ought to happen, not take as much on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which has happened for a while now, give incentives to shift to wind or solar. I'm for more nuclear under the right conditions. I think nuclear makes sense.
MR. CAVUTO: But you're not picking and choosing, right, Congressman?
REP. ANDREWS: No, no.
MR. CAVUTO: By the way, I've heard this from Republicans, too, so this is not disparaging on your part. There seems to be, yeah, we like this, they like this, we don't like this, they don't like this. And never the two shall meet. You're open to more production.
REP. ANDREWS: Sure.
MR. CAVUTO: But I've talked to many in your party who are not. I've talked to Republicans who are open to killing a lot of those oil subsidies, but many are not. If they gave up on oil subsidies, would you give up on these oil restrictions, especially pass this lease thing?
REP. ANDREWS: Well, I'm not for offshore drilling. I don't think it's necessary or appropriate. I think that we can exploit existing fields and cover about 20 percent of our energy needs. But if you're asking me if I'm for things like expanding nuclear, yes, I am, under the right circumstances. If you're asking me if I think that that's a good swap for getting rid of subsidies, yes, I do.
MR. CAVUTO: Very interesting. Congressman, thank you very much.
REP. ANDREWS: All right, thank you.