Political Correction

Rep. Young Explodes At Arctic Wilderness Expert: "You Be Quiet!"

November 21, 2011 3:21 pm ET

From a November 18, 2011, House Natural Resources Committee hearing on oil drilling in Alaska:

PROF. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (RICE UNIV.): We sing the song "America The Beautiful" and we choose treasured landscapes in this country and we protect them with our lives. Theodore Roosevelt used to say the Europeans can keep the Louvre and Westminster Abbey, but we have the Tetons, we have Redwood California. We have the Grand Canyon. Arctic Alaska is very important to the psyche of the american people. When you study U.S. history, wilderness is something to be treasured and preserved, particularly in the 20th century, because it re-establishes the American spirit. [...] Incidentally, it's always been called the Arctic Refuge until the oil lobby started calling it ANWR, because it sounds like Anwar Sadat or some country in the middle east. 'You want to drill ANWR?' Yes. 'Do you want to molest Eisenhower's great wildlife reserve?' No. So it's the way the issue's framed. But what I've found odious over the past 50 years are people that've been saying there's no biological heart to the Arctic Refuge, that it's a wasteland, there's nothing there, a few caribou rubbing their bellies against pipes. And I know in particular Mr. Young knows better than that, because I know he's a trapper and spent time up there. The question becomes, what price? How buyable are Americans? How low do we get when we start taking our key heirlooms and we start selling them to Dutch Royal Shell or British Petroleum? 


REP. DON YOUNG (R-AK): Thank the Chairman and thanks for having this hearing. I will tell you, if you ever want to see an exercise in futility, it's this hearing. That side has already made up its mind. This side has already made up its mind. And the, I call it garbage, Dr. Rice, that comes from the mouth—

BRINKLEY: It's Dr. Brinkley, Rice is a university.

YOUNG: Well okay, I'll call you Dr. Rice. I'll call you anything I want to call you while you're sat in that chair.


YOUNG: You just be quiet. You be quiet! 

BRINKLEY: You don't own me! I pay your salary. 

YOUNG: I don't own you but I'll tell you right now—

REP. DOC HASTINGS (R-AK): The gentleman will suspend, and I'll remind members— 

BRINKLEY: I work for the private sector, you work for the taxpayer.

HASTINGS: Mr. Brinkley! You are invited here to testimony, and we look forward to your testimony and you got the time to say what—

BRINKLEY: He called me garbage and called me Mr. Rice. I needed to correct the record. 

HASTINGS: Mr. Brinkley. 


HASTINGS: We see a lot of people here, and from time to time, we make faux pas. Nobody is perfect here. But to interrupt breaks the comity of what we're trying— we're going to have disagreements here. You've already seen that. 

BRINKLEY: He called me Mr. Rice. And garbage. 

HASTINGS: Mr. Brinkley. 

BRINKLEY: You would do that if somebody said that to your name, too.

HASTINGS: Mr. Brinkley, I've been called a lot of things. 

BRINKLEY: I wouldn't call you that. You're a good congressman.

HASTINGS: Mr. Brinkley, do you want to continue sitting at this panel? 


HASTINGS: Okay, then please follow the rules. Mr. Young?

YOUNG: What I'm suggesting, Mr. Brinkley, you say you've been up there. You've camped one time. 


YOUNG: How many people were on the— that ever visited the Arctic wildlife range last year? 

BRINKLEY: Not many. 

YOUNG: Not many. So we have sort of an elitist group who are going up there. An elitist group. Now, I have been all over that area. 

BRINKLEY: I know you have. 

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 is what hurts me the most is 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 the Congress has to vote on it. Now, you can go all the [untintelligible] 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 gonna miss it. And this country is starving itself, because we're buying foreign oil. To 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 who live 400 miles away. Not the people who 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. 76 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 of pipe. Mr. Chairman, again, thank you for the interruption. I made a mistake when I said Mr. Rice, because I heard the Rice University and that can get in my mind. But like I say, when we're here, we're the ones that ask the question. You answer the questions. And you may not work in the private sector. 

BRINKLEY: I do work in the private sector.

YOUNG: I'm not asking you a question yet. You may not. When you think about it a moment, you made a comment about me which is why I'm really pissed right now, is because you in fact said that I wasn't here. I was over on the floor voting. 

BRINKLEY: I know you were. 

YOUNG: Okay then don't mention my name. 

BRINKLEY: I was mentioning— Your portrait's behind me. 

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