Natural gas mogul T. Boone Pickens says America needs an energy plan, something that will only occur if voters become more educated about the issue.
In advance of a Young America’s Foundation debate at George Washington University that pits Pickens against free-market economist and writer Steve Moore, the Texas billionaire outlined some of his ideas for The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“There is no energy plan for America,” he said. “The debate questions is that we in America do not understand the resources that we have available to us – we do not understand energy. When gasoline prices go up, Bill O’Reilly says it is Exxon that is the cause of it — that is not the case. We need to educate ourselves more about energy because it is such a huge factor in the everyday life of Americans.”
“As it unfolds you say to yourself that we thought we were so dependent on Middle Eastern oil. But then you find out that is not the case,” Pickens added. “I do not think that is generally understood in America.”
So what is Pickens’ energy plan?
“I think it starts off as, let’s get on our own resources,” Pickens said, laying out his plan. “Any country on its own resources is doing well. You could cut the trade deficit by 25 to 30 percent by just taking out OPEC oil. You don’t need it.”
“Show a little leadership in Washington,” he added. “Put together North American Energy Alliance. You have sat here and protected a cartel, OPEC, for the last forty years and you could put together an energy alliance of friendly nations and never have to take a barrel of OPEC oil.”
Pickens’ energy views are somewhat controversial among conservatives and libertarians. He champions domestic energy production, but has been criticized for wanting energy subsidies, in particular for natural gas.
“I have not asked for subsidies for natural gas,” Pickens said. “What I asked for, the difference in the cost of the natural gas engine and the diesel engine was about $30,000 and I said, give a tax credit for the $30,000 with a pay-for and the pay-for would be user pay.”
“I’ve got [Sen. John McCain] saying ‘you are trying to make me pick winners,’” Pickens said. “Okay, we’ve got heavy duty trucks, that is what I am after, you’ve got two fuels that will move it — diesel and natural gas… So he says, you are trying to pick winners. You are trying to make me pick natural gas. Okay, so don’t pick natural gas, what do you get? You get OPEC oil. So you have picked a winner by not picking your own fuel.”
The so-called Pickens Plan never received congressional approval, but Pickens said he didn’t lose any sleep over it because the natural gas boom is moving things in his direction anyway.
“You are moving heavy duty trucking to natural gas now because it is two dollars a gallon cheaper — it is half the cost of diesel,” he said.