T. Boone Pickens pushes energy independence

Aug. 22, 2013

DALLAS. T. Boone Pickens, famous for his Pickens’ Plan of 2008 that really launched the nation’s current expansion of natural gas as a vehicle fuel, was the opening speaker Wednesday for the Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference here in Dallas. As always, Pickens was adamant about the need for energy independence and enthusiastic about its attendant benefits for the nation. He also attempted to reassure the audience about many of the concerns being voiced about natural gas-- from worries about the impact of fracking operations to speculation about natural gas reserves and eventual costs.

“The goal of the Pickens’ Plan was to educate Americans on energy," he said. “At that time, I had no idea what the reserves of oil and gas were. [We did not know about the enormous shale gas deposits.]”

Every president since Nixon has said, “Elect me and we will be energy independent,” he observed, but nobody told us their plan to do that. We still do not have a comprehensive energy plan and we still are not energy independent. We import millions of barrels of oil a day from OPEC and some of the money we spend on that oil eventually gets to terrorist organizations.

While Pickens said he strongly supports a national energy policy or even a North American Oil and Gas Alliance with Canada and Mexico, he spoke out against involving the government in actually building the country’s natural gas fueling infrastructure. “No, no,no,” he said. “We do not want the government to build the natural gas infrastructure. Private enterprise can do that [faster and more economically].”

The fear is that natural gas prices will increase as natural gas becomes more popular, Pickens noted. “No it will not,” he said. The spread between the cost for natural gas and the (cartel-controlled) cost for oil is just too great. Instead, as natural gas prices go up, more drilling operations will move over from oil to natural gas, increasing supply.

Pickens also debunked fears about environmental damage from fracking.  “The same crowd that believes in climate change [is worried about fracking],” he said. “There is no evidence that fracking is causing problems. I saw my first frack job in the 1950’s. [Since then there have been thousands and thousands of wells drilled through the nation’s largest aquifer and there have not been problems.]"

Pickens also made it clear that he is not “against” the use of other American energy sources, including coal or diesel and gasoline, which are much cleaner than they used to be. From his perspective, it is all about finding economical solutions to being energy independent.  

"We do not have to do business with anybody we don't want to do business with," Pickens added. "Energy is going to be huge in this country."

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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