This is, to put it mildly, the usual load of self-serving bullshit.
So. He couldn't get the ANWR exploration bill passed even in a Republican congress; none of the three candidates support drilling there (though, as always, anything uttered by either Clinton or McCain is qualified at best, and should always be considered subject to change); and no reputable energy analyst, public or private, sees it affecting prices or import ratios more than marginally.
As for refinery capacity, there's more to that than Congress waving a magic wand. Yeah, I'm sure that if the taxpayers build it for them, the oil companies will be more than happy to have another refinery. But in a peak-oil paradigm, dumping a billion dollars into something with essentially imminent obsolescence, it doesn't make sense from their standpoint. Seriously, every self-proclaimed supercapitalist should get this by now -- what incentive does the oil industry have to affect the price structure in that direction at all? The price has gone up more than tenfold in less than a decade.
I know this may be a shock to Mister Embeay and his remaining claque of goobers, but oil companies don't care that working commuters are paying four bucks a gallon (far more if you account for all the price externalities -- defense budget, force deployment, infrastructure maintenance -- inherent in our "cheap" gasoline). Nor should they; in the predatory capitalist paradise that serious economic thinkers have envisioned and put into place, the only number that matters is what the market will bear, for gas, for housing, for pharmaceuticals, in a stagnant wage market. If you can be distracted from your worsening expense-to-income ratio by cheap high-performance electronic widgets, so much the better.
As Bush himself acknowledges later in the press conference, oil prices are a direct function of capacity margin, of demand meeting and threatening to exceed supply. (There is also risk premium involved, thanks not only to the whacking of the Persian Gulf hornet nest, but things such as domestic terrorism in Nigeria, where pipeline networks have been sabotaged routinely.) Refining capacity, again even if oil companies were willing to act against their own rational self-interest and dump tons of money into more refineries, only affects what can actually be pumped out of the ground and transported to the refinery in the first place.
Here's the thing, and I said this back in '02 at one of the chat fora I was in at the time: I would be all for drilling in ANWR, provided it came with a set of conditions. There is no reason photovoltaic technology cannot be invested in, improved, and utilized for permanent structure energy use, right now. How much oil would that alone free up? Next, all the ANWR oil would be required to remain domestic. No more bullshit about the fungibility of financial and commodity resources in a globalized market; if it's scarce, we're keeping it and using it domestically. I recall estimates from 2002 that a quarter to a third of whatever was found would probably end up in Korea or Japan. Third, reinvest in the railroads. The airline industry is dying on the vine. Put some money and effort into metro light rail systems and intra- and interstate passenger systems. $2 billion a week in Iraq for how many years? How much domestic energy and transportation infrastructural investment could that have accomplished, not to mention education and health care?
Finally and most importantly, at the point we're at, there is no rational energy policy anyone can come up with that does not address the issues of consumption and waste. Reinstate the CAFE standards, tomorrow. The American auto companies will bitch and moan, and cry that such impositions will put them out of business. They said the same thing about seat belts. Funny how Toyota and Honda and Nissan never squawk about having to build more efficient cars; indeed, they seem to take pride in the challenge.
Regardless, we have turned into a nation of fat people driving fat trucks for the most inane tasks, carrying nothing to nowhere. I think anything larger than, say, a Jeep Grand Cherokee should have a definable purpose greater than waddling to the grocery store or the post office. Reasonable people can sort out the sizes and numbers and all, but the fact is that no one even tries; no one, Republican or Democrat, makes much of a fuss. The assumption is that people cannot handle being told that, given the issues of scarcity, cost, and an assortment of externalities, perhaps they're not entitled to drive an RV to the Piggly Wiggly anymore, that in a nation of 300 million people, this shit adds up pretty quickly.
Look through the transcript of the press conference. Bush talks about ANWR, he talks about refineries, he talks about the shameless low-EROEI boondoggle of ethanol. It doesn't even occur to him (and sure as shit, some chump on the street was faithfully regurgitating the received wisdom on the local news tonight, without the benefit of an informed rebuttal) that maybe it's just stupid to pretend that we can keep going like this.
But again, the purpose was never to discuss the actual problems and solutions, it was to tell the rubes that they're always right and congressional dummycrats are always wrong. Does anyone with two stray brain cells left listen to this clown anymore? What if they gave a press conference and nobody came, what if the faithful scriveners decided to forgo a morning of lies and abuse, and just leave Mister Man at the podium?