Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on Newstalk 600 KTBB, Friday, June 6, 2008.

Please forgive me for again going on about oil prices and the need to change U.S. policy with respect to domestic exploration and production. I know I’ve been on that topic pretty relentlessly of late but I can’t help it. There are two factors dragging heavily on the economy right now. One is credit market turmoil and the other is high oil prices. The former will work itself out over time but the latter will only get worse unless we change course now.

I have a proposition. Let’s all get together and invite Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama and John McCain to East Texas. Talk about bipartisan. We’ll make history.

OK Paul. We’ll invite them. Why on earth would they come?

Simple. To eat ribs. Really good ribs. We’ll just get the four biggest names on the American political scene all together on a picnic lunch hosted by us and catered by the Country Tavern.

Why the Country Tavern?

Because it’s close to where we’re having the picnic and the ribs are fantastic. We’ll round up the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and the two presidential candidates, all of whom oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), spread out some blankets, break out the ribs (and the sauce — good Heavens, don’t forget the sauce!) and we’ll have a lovely afternoon at the site of the Daisy Bradford #3.

Now if you don’t know your East Texas history, the Daisy Bradford #3 is the oil well drilled by Dad Joiner in 1930 and bought (some apocryphal stories say won in a poker game) by H.L. Hunt. It’s the well that put East Texas in the oil business. It’s still the largest oil field ever discovered on the North American continent and it’s the well that put H.L. Hunt on the way to being one of the richest man in the world for a good part of the 20th century.

This well changed history. It opened the East Texas oil field. From the time of its discovery until the early 1960s, East Texas was to world oil production what the Middle East is today. Oil from East Texas was shipped via pipeline to Linden, NJ where it was refined and sent to Europe to make the critical difference in winning World War II.

The Daisy Bradford #3 has been producing oil for 78 years. So have wells all around it in the Woodbine formation of East Texas. Lots and lots of oil.

Now this is the part where you have to look at the pictures.

The Daisy Bradford #3

Treating our politician guests to a picnic next to an oil well that has been producing for nearly 80 years will serve to give them a real world lesson on the impact that oil production has on the environment.

Which is to say, next to none.

The land upon which the Daisy Bradford sits and the land all around it is without question some of the most beautiful in Texas. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the pictures. The Daisy Bradford is surrounded by towering trees. (No, Ms. Pelosi, they’re not giant Redwoods like you find in the Muir Woods outside of San Francisco. But they do block out the sun and create a canopy over the road and they really are pretty and we’re proud of them.)

The well itself sits on land covered by naturally-occurring grass. Perfect for our picnic. In fact, the land would make a beautiful rural home site.

Now Madame Speaker and Senators, feel free to wander around on the site. Look for the environmental damage. Oh, no, that’s OK. Take your time.

But when you’re through looking at least acknowledge the obvious. After nearly eight decades of producing oil, the land is as pretty as it was when Dad Joiner spudded the well.

Now that we’ve had a nice lunch, Madame Speaker and Senators, you can look at the land upon which you are sitting and explain to us again why we can’t drill ANWR. You can tell us again how producing oil in a tiny piece of a large tract of federal land will cause such grievous harm that it’s worth foregoing the positive impact that nearly 1.5 million barrels of additional oil per day from a domestic source would have on the price we pay for gasoline.

And you can try to back up your assertion by pointing to the site of the Daisy Bradford #3. The fact that the land is pastoral and suitable for a picnic lunch after nearly 80 years of producing oil shouldn’t dissuade you.

Lord knows, nothing else has.

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