Archive for Thursday, April 9, 2009

Billionaire pushes domestic energy plan

Energy magnate T. Boone Pickens and former Sen. Bob Dole were at the Dole Institute for a town hall-style event Wednesday where Pickens discussed the nation’s energy future.

Energy magnate T. Boone Pickens and former Sen. Bob Dole were at the Dole Institute for a town hall-style event Wednesday where Pickens discussed the nation’s energy future.

April 9, 2009


Pickens pushes domestic energy production at town hall meeting

A billionaire who made his money in oil is asking Americans to turn away from foreign petroleum. Enlarge video

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, former Kansas Senator Bob Dole and Oklahoma energy magnate T. Boone Pickens were at the Dole Institute for a town hall meeting Wednesday.

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, former Kansas Senator Bob Dole and Oklahoma energy magnate T. Boone Pickens were at the Dole Institute for a town hall meeting Wednesday.

On the street

Do you think America can decrease its dependency on oil?

Yeah, of course I do. All we got to do is drive smaller cars and start getting more solar energy.

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When billionaire T. Boone Pickens talks, people listen.

Pickens, author and bankroller of a plan to wean America off foreign oil during the next decade, brought his campaign Wednesday to Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University. The visit drew a capacity crowd of 525, with organizers forced to turn people away from the town hall-style event.

Among those allowed in were Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and the institute’s namesake, former Sen. Bob Dole — two political power brokers who are confident that if anyone can get his message into both the national consciousness and Washington establishment, it’s Pickens.

An energy bill should be moving through Congress this year and enjoy bipartisan support, Brownback said.

Such a bill, he said, will ride the foundation set by the “Pickens Plan,” which calls for America to generate electricity from domestic renewable resources, such as wind, and use natural gas to fuel large trucks and other vehicles.

Pickens’ plan calls for replacing more than a third of the county’s oil imports and helping boost the fortunes of all Americans, including folks in Kansas.

“We’ve been addicted to cheap oil,” Pickens said, who also backs the use of clean coal, ethanol, biodiesel and any other domestic resource. “It’s pretty much like dope: It’s cheap, and we continue to want more and more and more of it. … The only way to get off of it is to get into our own resources.”

Brownback said that Kansas could be a leader in providing wind energy, provided the country can figure out how to create an energy grid to transport such power to the customers who need it.

“We can be the Saudi Arabia of wind,” Brownback said.

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said that such transmission lines would cost $1.5 million per mile, and that the real debate would emerge over where the lines would be located and who would make those decisions.

That may be difficult, he said, but at least people are discussing the possibilities now.

“He’s moving the whole process forward,” said Sloan, who serves on the House Energy and Utilities Committee.

Pickens answered questions from the audience and signed copies of his book “The First Billion is the Hardest.” The billionaire who made his money in oil and other entrepreneurial pursuits shrugged off jabs about Oklahoma State University’s past efforts to lure Bill Self away from the KU basketball bench and over to their shared alma mater.

“You can’t talk to Bill Self while you’re here,” Brownback told Pickens, drawing applause both from the crowd and a smiling Pickens.

Dole noted that Pickens had the drive — and the money — to push for a national energy plan, something politicians have spent decades failing to accomplish.

“If I’d stayed on message the way Boone stays on message, we might be in a presidential library today,” Dole quipped.

For more information about Pickens’ plan, visit The Dole Institute has posted video of the town hall presentation online, at


lounger 9 years ago

Boone is on top of it! Too bad it had to come with Brownbacks involvement...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

The cost of new infrastructure for long-distance truckers in the natural gas part of his plan is not worth it just to exchange one non-renewable fossil fuel for another. Using natural gas could make sense for local fleet vehicles in large metropolitan areas where fewer fueling stations would be needed.

bd 9 years ago

????? like he really needs the money, he is correct in the fact that our country does not have a real viable energy policy! When the oil and coal runs out we will all be in big trouble!

Moderateguy 9 years ago

The main difference with the natural gas is that it's one of OUR natural resources instead of one of THEIR natural resources. What would you rather run our transportation network on? Magic pixie dust and unicorns? Fuel cell technology isn't ready yet, and the wind doesn't blow all the time. Mr. Pickens is proposing using natural gas to create a bridge to get to the other side.

Chris Ogle 9 years ago

“We can be the Saudi Arabia of wind,” Brownback said

That's right.... you do talk , and talk... and talk..... Mr. Brownback, or should it be Brownnose.

Practicality 9 years ago

Although no fan of Brownback myself,

I support the plan. It seems like a realistic solution to a growing problem in our nation. T-Boone and Dole are alright in my book.

jaywalker 9 years ago

"When you see Pickens and Brownback and Dole together - that should be enough for anyone to know things are not on the level."

Early leader for dumbest line of the day.

Bozo's right about the trucking industry, but oil will not be completely eliminated from our society and for such industries will probably remain the energy source. Making all cars transform to natural gas, electricity, and or hydrogen would be more than enough to significantly lower vehicle emissions and leave semi's alone to oil.

flux 9 years ago

Never trust a man named T-Boone.....You think he got that rich by being compassionate

Godot 9 years ago

So much for using natural gas to wean ourselves from depending on foreign sources for energy:

"The world's largest natural gas company, Russia's Gazprom, has after years of attempts finally gotten a foothold in the U.S., the world's biggest gas market."

Moderateguy 9 years ago

You guys should do a little research on the environmental impact of the batteries (both making and disposing) before you put all your eggs in the magical electric cars and trucks basket. That's not to say that a better battery system can't be designed. It just not currently viable.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Taxpayers can take stock of how the federal government spent each 2008 income tax dollar: 37.3 cents went towards military-related spending (military and military-related debt), while environment, energy and science-related spending split 2.8 cents.

The Military Cost of Securing Energy

According to a new report from National Priorities Project (NPP), the United States is spending between $97 and $215 billion dollars annually on military action to defend access to oil and natural gas reserves around the globe.

The Military Cost of Securing Energy provides a critical analysis of the military cost of defending U.S. energy concerns overseas. The report estimates that the military spends up to 30 percent of its annual budget to secure access to energy resources internationally.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Car power batteries last quite a while and can be recycled for re-use.

Let's get on with wind,solar and hydro power for cleaner and cheaper sources of energy. The technology is here today for our benefit.

staff04 9 years ago

Tom....Pickens "plan" is just talk until there is a legislative vehicle. I don't expect you to understand the difference between a "plan" and what can actually be implemented, but I feel like I haven't picked on you enough in the last couple of days.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 9 years ago

Nancy Boy says... "That's all I'm sayin'."

And the fact is, just because you say it definitely does not make it true. Or are you being facetious again? One can never tell. Most of your posts sound very much like an overweight, conservative talk-radio host who is the new leader of the Repub party.

The_Voice_of_Reason 9 years ago

Pickens doesn't give a rip about global warming, he pretty much said so in his town hall yesterday, I know, I was there. His main goal is to power America by using OUR resources. He said and I quote "I don't care what we use to create energy as long as it's American." I commend his efforts in bringing down the petro dictators around the world, but I don't think that natural gas is the answer, or even the bridge to the answer. We had electric cars over a 100 years ago, and that's where I think we need to be.

superduper 9 years ago

Currently you can't make electric cars fast enough to make a difference. The quantity necessary to put a dent in foreign oil is massive. His plan is limited in that he wants to get the biggest users of diesel converted to natural gas. I think this includes 18wheelers, farm and construction equipment. This is a relatively easy retrofit to the vehicles and some infrastructure to get the natural gas to trucking depots is already in place. Once the price comes down on electric and the efficiency of solar generation improves we'll move to that and use natural gas for other uses. Investing in natural gas is a short term solution but I believe it will help bridge the gap.

As for cars for the masses, The US has yet to produce a viable electric vehicle. Sure Tesla is making strides but at 50k for the cheapest models it just won't work...yet. Importing existing electric vehicles doesn't seem like a good option either. The big 2/3 auto makers need to quit F*&^ing around with the pie in the sky ideas and get down to basics. Look at what Europe and Japan are doing. They both far outclass us in efficient vehicle technology and how to get it to market. Oil has just been so cheap and the big guys have been so greedy that nothing has been done. Well, it's time.


TacoBob 9 years ago

One of the first arguments out of the chute is that the person who makes the suggestions will stand to make a lot of money.

Most everyone in the game is out to make some money. Non-factor, too simplistic to bring up. It would be silly for someone to push an idea and not invest in it at the same time (i.e. have holdings in the said industry). Judge the ideas on the merits.

RedwoodCoast 9 years ago

I wonder how the comments would read if Pickens wasn't a billionaire.

"At least Pickens has a plan" (translation: at least Pickens has a billion dollars). It's almost like he actually gains credibility from his financial status.

Humans and the crazy stuff we do...

jaywalker 9 years ago

Morons. He has money, so he's only in it for money. Oh my God, a billionaire will make more money?! How sad to you have to be to believe that the rich are all evil, that they're only in it for themselves. In this case, who gives a shiitake mushroom? Isn't this what half of you all have been clamoring for? Alternative energy? Sorry it wasn't the greasy misanthrope at Wild Oats that came up with the plan and actually has the gumption and resources to do something about it. Man, Lawrence has really become a sad town, and my alma mater is disappointing me.

"At least Pickens has a plan” (translation: at least Pickens has a billion dollars). "

Brilliant. Lord knows, billionaires are usually idiots. Duh, duh duh dumb duuuummb!!!

The_Voice_of_Reason 9 years ago

"You'd think the ignorant would spend three minutes watching a video where Boone Pickens says he believes global warming is real"

I would think the moron would know that some people tell lies and half truths to make money......

true_patriot 9 years ago

Brownback said the energy plan would "ride the foundations" of the Pickens plan? What a joke.

PIckens is an extreme latecomer to the discussion and I haven't heard a single new idea that wasn't already firmly a part of the alternative and energy renewal movement for years, except maybe for an irrational ramping up of taxpayer spending on infrastructure that would allow Pickens to maximize profits on his large natural gas holdings for the next several decades.

While natural gas could play one of many short to medium transition roles, we need to put the brunt of our efforts into renewable sources.

If PIckens brings people out that would normally not be interested in one of the most pressing issues related to the stability of America and the entire world, then I do think that's a positive. But once those people are brought out in the light of day, they need to be gently educated that oil-man Pickens didn't originate or innovate in the least, much less build any sort of foundation for the movement.

You can always count on Brownback to utter cheesy pandering inanaties that fly in the face of science or political reality, that's for sure, laugh.

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