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T. Boone Pickens puts polish on plan to curb oil imports

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is offering a new look at his pitch to curb oil imports. He said there is still time to make good on President Barack Obama's campaign pledge to eliminate imports from the Middle East in 10 years.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: July 16, 2010 at 4:47 am •  Published: July 16, 2010

T. Boone Pickens has no intention of letting President Barack Obama out of his campaign pledge to eliminate oil imports from the Middle East.

The billionaire oilman posted a whiteboard presentation on his website Thursday, updating the eponymous plan he has touted at his own expense for more than two years. It is the first in a series of planned video presentations.

Pickens maintains it is vital for the United States to stop importing oil from unfriendly nations.

"There are eight years left on the president's campaign pledge to eliminate Middle East oil in 10 years, and we want to help him and our nation get there," he said. "The Pickens Plan is the only real plan that can make dramatic progress on that goal using our abundance of natural gas as a transportation fuel.

"We encourage Congress and all Americans to get behind this plan now. There is no more time to waste. We have an opportunity, and we need to take advantage of it."

Pickens said Americans use 21 million barrels of oil a day — about a quarter of what is being produced worldwide — with 13 million barrels a day coming from foreign sources. Five million barrels a day comes from the Middle East, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"That's my target. I want to get rid of this, because I think we're importing oil from the enemy," he said, circling that figure. "We're paying for both sides of the war when we're buying OPEC oil.

"This is not smart."

CNG for trucks

The main pillar of Pickens' plan remains increased use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel. He said it is abundant and cheaper and cleaner than diesel.

Pickens is targeting 8 million 18-wheel trucks in the U.S. He said converting those trucks to run on compressed natural gas can cut America's OPEC oil habit in half.

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Ideas gaining acceptance in D.C.

Some facets of Boone Pickens' plan to cut oil imports are among several pieces of legislation, including:

• The New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act (HR 1835 and S 1408);

• The American Power Act (S 1733) introduced by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, indpendent-Conn.;

• The Next Generation Energy Security Act (S 3535) introduced by Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Pickens spokesman Jay Rosser said some facets of the plan are expected to be included in a new energy plan being discussed in the U.S. Senate.

He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday stated the bill will incorporate Pickens' call for tax incentives to fuel America's heavy duty fleet vehicles on domestic natural gas.

Boone Pickens is confident a national energy plan is on the horizon:

"America is as close to an energy plan as it's been in 40 years," Pickens said. "We can't let any more time go by as we continue to spend $27.3 billion per month on foreign oil.

"We have to act now or risk watching oil rise to $300-$400 a barrel in the next ten years, with import numbers jumping to 75 percent.

"So instead of spending $365 billion a year on foreign oil, we would be wasting $1 trillion a year. That just won't work.

"Congress needs to move fast to enact legislation promoting the greater use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The future of our economy and national security depend on it."


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