New Plan for Energy

by Isa Torres

Evan Smtih and T. Boone Pickens

As part of The Texas Tribune College Tour presentations at Texas Tech University April 13, keynote speaker T. Boone Pickens discussed the Pickens plan with Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of The Tribune.

According to Pickens, creator and advocate of the plan, the Pickens plan aims to cut the dependency of the United States on foreign oil and increase the usage of natural gas found in the U.S.

“We’re going to get on our own resources in America and get off OPEC oil,” Pickens said. “That has to be done. That’s a scary issue for this country.”

Pickens said 70 percent of oil used in the U.S. is imported, so his plan not only addresses using more efficient fuel but also national security.

“For 40 years America hasn’t had an energy plan,” Pickens said. “You can’t make it without an oil plan.”

“I felt like it had to be done and nobody was doing it. I felt like it was my mission and I needed to carry it out.”
— T. Boone Pickens

Pickens also said that without an energy plan, health care and education will be at risk as well.

Pickens said his plan is a simple series of steps which begin with transforming the eight million semi trucks in the U. S. into natural gas-consuming vehicles, a process that he said will take seven years and $65,000 per semi truck. The total cost would be $520 billion.

Pickens spent $62 million last year promoting his plan in 45 states.

Although Pickens said that his plan is for the benefit of Americans and not necessarily for himself, he is the founder and member of the board of directors of Clean Energy Fuels Corporation, the largest provider of natural gas for vehicles in North America.

“I felt like it had to be done and nobody was doing it,” Pickens said. “I felt like it was my mission and I needed to carry it out.”

Pickens said that one of the promises Obama made before he became president was to end the dependency on oil from the Middle East in ten years. The Pickens plan is a way to accomplish this, he claimed.

Pickens said more than one million people have signed the online petition in support of the Pickens plan and that he is sure the plan will be passed by Congress.

“I think we’ll have an energy plan before Memorial Day,” Pickens said. However, that did not happen. The spill in the Gulf of Mexico has diverted attention away from the issue.

Pickens asked audience members to go online to and support his plan by signing the petition.

“Everything is on the Web site,” Pickens said. “You can see what I’m for, and that is for America.”

Pickens is a founding investor of The Texas Tribune, and has contributed $150,000 to it, according to The Tribune Web site. mc

Isa Torres is a senior journalism major from Juarez, Mexico.