Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's promise of embracing a national energy policy that focuses on oil and natural gas production and distribution drew support from billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens.
Romney on Thursday released his 21-page plan that calls for more state control of federal lands, less restrictive federal regulations and the completion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as part of an effort to become energy independent by 2020 and “establish America as an energy superpower in the 21st Century.”
“They have a good plan. This will work,” Pickens said. “It needs more, but it is a real good shot at a plan.”
Pickens initially criticized Romney's plan on national morning shows for not focusing enough on natural gas. Pickens said his comments were based on an early outline of the plan that did not include a discussion of natural gas.
After reading the full report, Pickens told The Oklahoman's editorial board he now supports the Romney plan.
Pickens for years has called for the country's trucking fleet to convert to natural gas instead of oil, saying the effort alone would eliminate the need for three-quarters of the oil the United States imports from OPEC.
The Romney plan does not call for tax credits or other financial support for the effort, but it does cite it specifically as an example of how the private sector is “making massive investments in natural gas infrastructure.”
Pickens praised the tactic.
“He is saying heavy duty trucks need to get on natural gas. That is an easy sell because of the fuel savings,” Pickens said.
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At a glance
Romney's Energy Plan