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Texas Oilman, T. Boone Pickens, Advances Plan To Break Foreign Oil Dependence

Normally reliable conservative Texas oilman, T. Boone Pickens, is advancing a progressive and bold, entirely realistic new plan to make the United States energy independent that is drawing praise from environmentalist organizations such as the Sierra Club.

The core of the plan involves switching over the production of electricity from natural gas to production by wind farms, and then using this freed up natural gas to power automobiles. Not only is this plan entirely possible to achieve, but it offers significant air quality improvements for the U.S., as well as works towards the vital goal of stemming the flow of so much American cash overseas. Right now, $700 billion American dollars are flowing out of the country each year overseas, just to pay for oil. Oil imports now comprise 70% of the oil used in the U.S. In 1970, only 24% of the oil used in the U.S. was imported by comparison.

Right now, the U.S. is spending four times as much per year to purchase oil imports as it spends on the war in Iraq. Both events are draining the American economy, creating huge national debt and trade deficit issues, and amount to the greatest transfer of wealth from a nation in the history of mankind. Not only are the issues of the oil security of the United States at stake, but so also is the future economic survival of the U.S. as well. Right now, most of world's new billionaires are mostly from oil, and most have been from either Russia or Iran in more recent years. In fact, Donald Trump is building a huge new 62 story condominium structure in Dubai, and nearly all of the reservations have been by the new Russian or Iranian oil billionaires.

80 year old oilman, Pickens, advances the fact that the Great Plains hold the real potential to become the "Saudi Arabia" of wind production, yet currently just 1% of the American electricity production is by wind power. Wind power is a clean way to produce electricity, far cleaner than burning coal to produce electricity. And with natural gas freed up from having to produce electricity, automobiles could be powered by this cleaner burning and much cheaper source of power, all domestically produced, reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Natural gas also produces significantly less greenhouse pollution gases. Natural gas produces 23% lower greenhouse emissions than diesel, and 30% less greenhouse emissions than gasoline. And natural gas has long proven itself to be a cleaner burning source of power for automobiles that provides good performance for decades now. A friend of mine switched his truck over to natural gas in 1980, and it provided reliable and safe service with top performance. Unfortunately, of the more than 7 million natural gas powered vehicles currently in use around the world, only around 150,000 are in use in the United States.

Natural gas would only cost less than $1 dollar a gallon compared to the current price of over $4 a gallon for gasoline. This is a significant cost savings for motorists. And while 98% of the natural gas in use in the U.S. comes from North America, 70% of the oil in use currently is imported by comparison.

The Pickens Plan may not be the only path to American oil independence. But it's certainly a nationalistic plan with many advantages and a path to a better future of less dependence on foreign oil and a cleaner environment. It achieves so many worthy goals, that this politically conservative Texas oilman is drawing praise and support from persons all over the American political spectrum.

The Pickens Plan at least deserves a serious look. There have been serious membrane problems with cold weather related damage to experimental hydrogen powered fuel cell automobiles as well as cost problems. Current technology would put the price of a fuel cell powered car at around $70,000 each right now. But natural gas powered cars exist right now, with very few problems and moderate cost that is affordable. And existing vehicles could even be switched over to run on natural gas. This is simply too attractive of a solution to the current energy and environmental crisis to ignore.

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Comments (8)

Here's the link:


This is something we can agree on, Paul.

Another very interesting aspect of the plan is that each landowner that allows a turbine to be located on their property will receive a royalty payment based on revenue from the energy sold.

Not to belabor the point, but here is an example of my comment above about property owners benefitting:


It is ironic that the man who was excoriated during the 1980's consolidation of the Oil & Gas industry is at the forefront today of a radical program to introduce fossil fuel alternatives in the middle of the oil patch.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Since it is my mission to inject politics into everything, has either Obama or McCain endorsed the Pickens Plan?

I too read Pickens' article in WSJ the other day and also found his ideas intriguing, though a bit filled with hyperbole (does anyone really believe we'll have end-to-end windmills stretching from the Mexican border to the Canada border?) and omitting that we'd still have to drill off our coasts to tap into our vast, vast resources of natural gas to meet demand.

As with most things, there are drawbacks to wind power--adversely affecting migratory bird and animal patterns, the noise pollution from the windmills themselves, NIMBYs who don't like the sight of windmills in their backyards and potential damage to the windmills from tornadoes that are present in the suggested part of the country.

I disagree on one point: fuel-cell and natural gas are currently not "affordable" to the average American household--$70,000 is still a very expensive car even for DHHIs (dual household incomes). But so too once were color TVs and microwaves.

Overall though, I'd have to agree with Paul H.: Boone's ideas offer a very attractive solution.

Since it is my mission to inject politics into everything, has either Obama or McCain endorsed the Pickens Plan?

Not to my knowledge. Though either one certainly could make political hay with it, couldn't they?

If following the money is any indication, this may help:


However, Pickens has a long history of anti- establishmentarian behavior in the energy industry. I wouldn't be surprised to see him go either way on this issue and the election.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Thanks, Hugh. Oil folks backing Republicans - now that's surprising.

But it is noteworthy that while other Pickens family members have backed many different Republican presidential candidates, there aren't any presidential candidates listed among the donations from Boone (although he's donated to other Republican politicians and causes). Maybe he's among the "None of the Above" voters...


Pickens says he has no intention of putting any windmills on his ranch. Too ugly he says. Its a good money making scheme, for Pickens that is. This is simply an example of rent seeking.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I drove through Altamont Pass a few weeks ago. Wind turbines by the hundreds [photos].

In years past -- maybe 5 years ago - a small percentage of the windmills were working. Maybe 10-15%.

Now every single windmill was cranking away. I didn't seen one single windmill idle.

Areas where the winds are sufficient to warrant a windmill are not "people friendly" -- they are windy zones you wouldn't want to live in or recreate in.


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