Special Reports
Boone Pickens Energy Plan

Sun Powered Dreams
October 27, 2008

Boone Pickenís Plan: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

If you watch television youíve seen the ads with oilman Boone Pickens promoting
switching our vehicles to run on natural gas/renewable fuels. If not, the plan
is based on 1 fundamental point: that relying on foreign oil is dangerous to the
US economy and itís position in the world. In short, we should switch to
natural guess to power vehicles instead of using oil. The plan itself is under
attack for substituting one carbon based fuel for another, when CO2 levels need
to be reduced. Further the is under attack because itís creator/backer, 80 year
old oilman T. Boone Pickens, has substantial investments in the various
components of the plan.

The Good

The plan is about reducing dependence on oil and the transfer of wealth from the
US to oil producing countries. Keeping our energy spend at/near home is
something that i support with my environmental, nationalist and capitalist
values. Environmentally the plan calls on substituting natural gas for gasoline
that is mainly made from imported oil and substituting the electricity that is
generated by natural gas, with wind power. This is a net gain for the
environment. First, natural gas generates 30%+ less CO2, per mile than gasoline.
Further switching to wind from natural gas power plants eliminates the
emissions from 16%+ of the power generation and about 11% of overall emissions
for electrical generation (nat gas generates 33% of the CO2 of coal plants) due
to itís cleaner burn.

The Bad

The Pickensí Plan encourage changing the entire US truck fleet to natural gas,
since trucks use 25% of all gasoline. Pickens owns Clean Energy Fuels corp. a
company that runs natural gas filling stations. Pickensí plan calls for wind
power to replace natural gas generated power, to make the fuel available for
transportation. Pickens has ordered over $2 Billion worth of wind turbines to
help produce that electricity. The plan calls for the government allow
emergency use of eminent domain to create right of ways for high voltage links
between wind farms and electric users; Pickens is seeking to have power lines
built to his wind farm. While the plan may help the country, it is Pickens,
more than any other individual, who will benefit from his plan.

The Ugly

Boone Pickens has been around for years and has acquired a number of friends and
enemies. Many enemies in the environmental movement base their stand on the
effects of his business on the environment. We all know about the environmental
issues of an oil based economy and as a the ultimate Texas wildcatter, Mr.
Pickens has made his fortune(and lost it and made it back) in the Oil and Gas
industry. More recently, Mr. Pickens has acquired the majority of water rights,
for his Mesa Water, in his county in texas and intends to pump ground water for
sale to Dallas, which is over 200 miles away. Not only does he intend to pump
water to sell, he intends to do so at a rate which empty the aquifer in 20 to 30
years. In June he manage to get his ranch declared a public water district
which gives him considerable power in using eminent domain to take property need
for his 200+ mile pipeline. Finally is you are a democrat and/or some one angry
over the Swift Boat ads directed at John Kerry in 2004, it was Boone Pickens
that spent over $7 million to bankroll the activity.

The Conclusion?

I think itís a good idea to switch transportation to natural gas, from oil, but
to put a bunch of government subsidies to make this switch when we are just a
few years from plug-in rechargeables with reasonable cost and range isnít wise.

Better we should subsidize, non-carbon technology with government money or tax credits.

Anthony Rubenstein discusses the plan and California Prop 10 at his site


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