Oil man T. Boone Pickens testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee today that the energy crisis is a national security threat and an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately.
“By spending this $700 billion year importing oil- more than four times the cost of the Iraqi War — we are strangling our economy and putting ourselves and our nation in greater harm’s way. All without our enemies ever having to raise a hand in anger. This is more than a disturbing trend line. It is a recipe for national disaster. This is a crisis that cannot be left to the next generation to solve and shame on all of us if we don’t grab this bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. And we must do it now,” Pickens said.
On July 8, Pickens unveiled his plan the goal of which is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 38% over the next decade, by harnessing our renewable energy resources. “I believe this plan provides a significant bridge to the future that gives us time to develop the next generation of alternative fuels, including electric vehicle. It results in revitalizing much of rural America with more than $1 trillion in private investment within ten years instead of enriching other nations at our expense. It can all be accomplished with private investment but needs government support by clearing the way for action, which means help on providing for transmission rights of way, the appropriate renewals of the renewable energy tax credits, among other things,” Pickens said.
Pickens’s plan is different from Al Gore’s because he favors offshore oil drilling and drilling in ANWR, and he is more concerned that the foreign oil alternative is 100% American. “I’m for everything that’s American,” he said. “I only have one enemy, that’s foreign oil. That’s what I want to get rid of.” Pickens said that he has spoken to Gore and he told him that, “Global warming to me is page two. I told Al I’ll get to page two after we clean up page one” – reducing the 72 percent of American energy produced by imported foreign oil.”
Gore and Pickens have two different goals that share some overlaps. Gore is interested in climate change, and Pickens is interested in getting rid of our dependence on foreign oil, by using wind and natural gas, but both men agree that we can’t drill our way out of this problem.
Gore was asked on last week’s Meet the Press if he liked the idea that Pickens is out there with him on the issue, “I do. And, and I think it’s really significant that one of the most successful oil industry figures is now investing a billion dollars of his own money in windmills. He’s looked at the figures that I was sharing with you a moment ago. Wind is competitive.”
I think Pickens can be very important in this debate with Republican members of Congress who have been outright hostile to an alternative energy policy. This should not be a partisan issue. The energy crisis isn’t a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It is an American problem that both parties should be working together to solve. If Pickens and Gore can get on the same page, there is no reason why our politicians can’t join them.