T. Boone Pickens: Oil Dependence ‘Is One Emergency We Can’t Drill Our Way Out Of’

T. Boone Pickens, billionaire Texas oil man, has been pushing his come-to-Jesus revelations in television — and YouTube — commericals lately. Which is to say, he’s figured out there’s money to be made, and an energy independence to be had, in alternative energies.

Some may question Pickens’ motivations and his methods of doing business with the Pickens Plan. I admit I could learn more about those aspects of Pickens. But as I do so, I’m writing now of my early impressions of the man, and why I am glad to see his face on T.V.

Nothing is more precious to general America than money. So money, profits, wealth accumulation, etc. has to be part of the process of converting people from any one way of life to any other way of life. Sense and science just aren’t enough for a significant, influential, voting portion of the public.

T. Boone Pickens no doubt does things for the sake of big dollars. And he will find a business model that makes alternative energies profitable and, therefore, worth considering to many others who don’t give much of a damn about the Earth, but will help save it for the bucks involved.

So I think it’s beneficial in the big picture to have an oil man rubbing against the oil industry’s grain a bit to tout alternative energies as the future, and lead us out of this oil dependence.

Or, as New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman said on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, those who were chanting “Drill, baby, drill!” at last week’s Republican National Convention are to the energy future as a group would have been, when facing the advent of computers and the Internet, if it were chanting “IBM Selectric Typewriters! IBM Selectric Typewriters!”

His point, of course, is that past technologies just don’t make sense in the evolving present and future.

But back to T. Boone Pickens…

In one of the Pickens Plan commercials, Pickens narrates, then introduces himself as a man with a plan:

  • Did you know, back in 1970 we imported 24% of our oil?
  • And by 1990, it was 42%.
  • Today it’s almost 70% and climbing every minute.
  • Over $700 billion are leaving this country to foreign nations every year.
  • That’s four times the cost of the Iraqi war, and it’s killing our economy.
  • It will be the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.
  • We don’t need anymore talk; we need a plan (Harnessing domestic wind and solar power).

“I’m T. Boone Pickens and I’ve been an oil man my whole life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.”

He goes on to say he has a plan he’ll soon unveil. “It’s our crisis, and we can solve it,” he says.

I believe he’s right that we’re capable. But I can only hope he’s proved right when it comes to the public waking from its ignorant apathy to carry out a plan — Pickens’ plan or otherwise.

I think he’s on the right path. Show people the money and they are likely to follow, right?

Pickens and the like can have their money, and we can have a cleaner, better world. Win-win.

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Image: PickensPlan.com

  1. Scott Sutherland

    The first part of the pickens plan is to use wind power to replace natural gas for producing electricity. The second part of the plan is to use that natural gas to power cars.

    Remember, besides drilling for oil T. Boone also drills for natural gas. So he’s working hard to create a market for a product he already produces.

    And he needs to work fast to get CNG cars on the road before electric or compressed-air or some other powered vehicles hit the market.

    Give T. Boone credit, he sees the future and realizes oil and natural gas might not be part of it.

  2. Randy White

    T. Boone is right that we can’t drill our way out of this emergency. We can, however, change the education system to teach children about permaculture and the soil-food-web rather than prep them to be accountants and paper pushers.

    Matter is the only reality outside of our communications technology that passes through the ether – so when military moves are made regarding oil pipelines, it is in direct relation to the value of currencies.

    The sad fact is that most Americans don’t understand the real nature of money as a mere representation of value.

    So while wind and solar are great, the top dogs are trying to maintain order and control by making sure we don’t have economic and energy collapse.

    I say join a local Bright Neighbor community and work on growing your social capital – we already have plenty of shelter to survive. The problem is that banks own most of it.

  3. rockymtnway

    While I completely agree that we’re at or around the crest of peak oil production and future energy needs are unlikely to be met by oil alone, Pickens is just trading one fossil fuel for another. How long are we going to play this game? Until global warming floods our cities? Until we use the very last gallon of oil to mine the very last ton of coal?

    Beyond this, Pickens wants a giant windfarm that stretches from Mexico to Canada to replace natural gas and coal currently used to general electricity. The first problem with this idea is the physics and infrastructure issues of getting all those megawatts from a relatively unpopulated part of the country to where the power demand lies. If you look at our current power grid infrastructure, utility companies are already at capacity on existing powerlines between the new windfarms on the eastern Colorado and Denver, less than 200 miles away. This problem is far larger than Pickens ever leads on and the line resistance issue alone between Kansas and New York City is likely to make the concept unfeasable.

    Even if you overcome the infrastucture issues, what about other environmental costs? Pickens fails to address that our current windfarms take a toll of more than 800,000 bird kills a year. If you put up 10x the windmills will you have 10x the kills? OK, so humans can probably live for longer without birds than it can without electricity in our modern world, but is this the only effect? Some scientists have pointed out that wind power is taking energy out of the atmosphere and on the large scale that Pickens is proposing, this could have its own impacts on the climate.

    I don’t propose more of the same inaction that has stagnated new energy technologies since the late 1980s until very recently. However, Pickens has a motive for his plan other than just the global good. Energy men have an interest in keeping us on the grid. That’s why you don’t hear him proposing a much less infrastucture dependent solution like a massive nation-wide rooftop solar program. Pickens doesn’t want energy independence; he just wants to shift the dependence from Saudi Arabia to T. Boone Pickens.

  4. Just watching

    If all sources of energy are used and drill baby drill for hot rocks then we can drill our way out of the mess we are in.
    We must stop using oil and gas for fuel.

  5. AlohaJoe

    Has nobody discovered that pickens great wind farm is sitting on the nations largest aquafier. He has the rights and the okay to build and send water down to the greater part of texas

    What gonna happen when we must decided to send thhe water to the farms to make food or close to spicket to texas

  6. Johnny_A

    Pickens isn’t suggesting that we trade one fossil fuel for another. Both oil and natural gas are being drilled in the US right now. He is saying however, that we should work toward keeping the money spent on fossil fuels here, and to utilize that wealth to develop new energy technologies. He’s also aware that the infrastructure to carry the wind power doesn’t yet exist, and is challenging free enterprise to get it done in ten years.

    Ten years ago, we were having the same debate over offshore drilling. I’m willing to bet that one of the arguments against was that it would take a long time (about 10 years) for any new drilling to have a domestic impact.

    Guess what? Ten years have gone by, and we have slipped further behind in the fight for energy due to increasing global demand. The author of the blog hits the point spot on about “the public waking from its ignorant apathy to carry out a plan”.

  7. ellew

    I am a native Texan. I work at a 200 MW wind farm in West Texas. The farm is run by Florida Power & Light and owned by a Portuguese company. Turbine pieces come from Brazil, Spain and Sweden. It’s a very new project and deals with a lot of cracked blades, some broken blades, and lots of down time (too much wind, too little wind, ice and hail in winter, tornadoes in summer). Without subsidies, it would be utterly pointless. With subsidies, it is still limping along. The grid out here is feeble at best and the wildlife impact is not pretty at all. If Germany can go 3% solar by using warehouse roofs, think of what the US could do with the same plan. Pickens is in it for himself and praying on the “green” image that sells. Wind isn’t green. I’d invite anyone to come out and see it up close and personal.

  8. Uncle B

    Wid power is great and will compliment solar power. CNG cars already exist, and we may have to use them again if oil runs out quickly! If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!
    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!
    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

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