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.
Ideas gaining acceptance in D.C.
Some facets of Boone Pickens' plan to cut oil imports are among several pieces of legislation, including:
• 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."
"I somehow see this as a great opportunity to pull America together," Pickens said. "You are going to create a tremendous number of jobs out of this."
Pickens' latest presentation drew plaudits from America's Natural Gas Association.
"He makes some great points about the abundant supplies of natural gas in the United States and the benefits that presents to our country," spokesman Dan Whitten said. "In addition, we think increased natural gas use for power generation provides an incredible opportunity for the environment, for energy security and for the economy."
Oklahoma City University professor Steve Agee, who oversaw a study into the benefits of switching to natural gas, said the United States is lagging behind other countries in using it as an alternative fuel.
"Many other countries are ahead of the United States with respect to the use and development of natural gas powered automobiles," he said. "Pakistan, for example, has an estimated 2 million natural gas vehicles; and Argentina and Brazil are close behind.
"In comparison, the U.S. had 110,000 as of 2009."
Agee said natural gas is an excellent source of energy, but the United States needs more fueling stations and affordable ways to convert vehicles to run on CNG before it takes hold as a transportation fuel.
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