A rather startling thing happened on Sunday's "Meet the Press": David Gregory asked White House Energy Adviser Carol Browner if in response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, America should start drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
After a lengthy discussion about what went wrong in the Gulf to cause the current crisis, Gregory asked his guest, "Is the problem that we're drilling in water that's just too deep?"
He continued, "Should you even rethink your own approach to the environment to say, 'Maybe in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve [Refuge], we ought to be drilling there. We ought to be going into shallower waters so that this can be done more safely?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: Is part of the problem here--you go back to the Clinton administration where there was thought to be more emphasis on environmental protection then there was on exploration of sources of energy. In the Bush administration, the criticism was far too much concentration on energy production, not enough on the environment. And here you are now working for President Obama, saying, "Yes, we ought to do additional drilling." Is the problem that we're drilling in water that's just too deep? Should you even rethink your own approach to the environment to say, "Maybe in the Arctic Wildlife Reserve, we ought to be drilling there. We ought to be going into shallower waters so that this can be done more safely"?
CAROL BROWNER, WHITE HOUSE ENERGY ADVISER: There's a lot of--I think on the shallow waters, the distinction is you can get to the wellhead if something goes wrong in shallow water, and you can--there's mechanisms to shut that down. You are asking all the right questions on deep water. We have to answer those questions before we proceed. That is why all of those operations have been shut down. In the Arctic, they've been shut down; in the Gulf of Mexico, they've been shut down, including 33 rigs that were out there drilling right now, which, you know, we understand it's going to be hard on those people.
GREGORY: But as an environmentalist, I'm asking you, have you rethought your position on this?
What got into Gregory?
Maybe we should drill in ANWR and in shallower waters?
Was this an odd moment for the "Meet the Press" host, or has this crisis woken him up to the idea that there are far safer places for America to drill its own oil than fifty miles from the coast a mile under the ocean?
More importantly, are other liberal media members reaching this same conclusion?
Regardless, great question, David! Bravo!