Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's Not All About Philanthropy With T. Boone

As T. Boone Pickens gets set to do the town hall thing this afternoon in Rapid City to promote his wind energy plan, we should be reminded that it's not all about doing the right thing with T. Boone. The billionaire oilman who up until now was probably best known for his $1 million prize for anyone that could disprove anything his $3 million donation bought in the Swiftboating of John Kerry and then pulling it back when someone did, has a lot to gain monetarily if his energy plan is implemented.

What could an oilman gain by reducing our dependence on oil other than feeling good? To figure that out you need to know where that oilman currently has his money invested. In Pickens' case that would be in natural gas and emerging technology hedge funds as well as wind energy companies that would see big returns if T. Boone's plan goes forward. You see, any energy gained from wind power, much of which would be generated by Pickens' Mesa Power, would free up more natural gas for use in other places which in the T. Boone plan would be as fuel in the next generation of automobiles.
Pickens said that the United States could generate at least 20 percent of its electricity by tapping power from the nation's "wind corridor," a vast stretch of territory from west Texas to the Canadian border.

That would then enable the nation’s abundant natural gas resources, now widely used to generate electricity, to be used for powering transportation. American automobile manufacturers should dramatically ramp up natural gas-powered vehicles, he said, and government vehicle fleets should be powered exclusively on natural gas.

So while under Pickens' plan we would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by up to $230 billion a year (according to Pickens), that dependence would be replaced by a larger dependence on natural gas and who will be sitting there waiting for the money to roll in?

I am more than willing to give Mr. Pickens credit for trying to solve the problem of oil dependence especially being from a so called "wind corridor" state that will directly benefit from his plan. But the next time you see one of his feel good commercials, remember it not all about doing what's best for the country, it's about doing what's best for T. Boone which this time just might benefit the country. More than enough to make any self respecting Republican proud.

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