Oil Billionaire: Obama Will Curb Foreign Oil Needs

By Keith Matheny
The Desert Sun
January 22, 2009

T. Boone Pickens talks about going green at Clean-Tech summit in Indian Wells

President Barack Obama “gets it” – the need for America to end its dependence on foreign oil, Texas oil billionaire and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens said Wednesday in Indian Wells.

Expect progress toward less-polluting domestic sources of energy in the coming years under the Obama administration, he predicted at the fifth annual Clean-Tech Investor Summit, held at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa.

“You haven’t seen details, but I don’t think there’s any question about it, that this administration is going to go green when it can,” the 80-year-old Pickens said.

Pickens became a loud spokesman last year for his “Pickens Plan,” calling for a transformation of America to wind, solar, natural gas, hydrogen and other clean, domestic sources of fuel for cars, homes and businesses.

Pickens said he met with Obama and the Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the campaign last year. After Obama’s election, Pickens met with his transition team twice, he said.

“We passed ideas back and forth,” he said.

The U.S. imports https://www.qsinano.com/files/news/newsletters/2009_01/about_70_percent_of_its_oil_from_foreign_countries__many_of_which_range_.css”from not friendly to hating us,” pickens said.

“we’re paying for both sides of the war; I don’t think there’s any question in my mind about that.”

Though gasoline prices have dropped since the days of $4.50 per gallon in the Coachella Valley last year, the national security issue of foreign oil dependence remains, Pickens said.

“It’s the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind whether oil is $40 a barrel or $140 a barrel,” he said.

Pickens’ plan calls for making light vehicles battery-powered, with heavy equipment running on less-polluting natural gas.

“A battery will not move an 18-wheeler,” he said.

The billionaire, with large natural gas holdings, unashamedly expects to profit from a move to natural gas.

“This is like a deck of cards, and I’ve removed the winning hand,” he said. “I’ve removed the trump card, the natural gas. You cannot get to the conclusion that we can reduce foreign oil in quantities that are meaningful without natural gas.”

But Pickens also believes natural gas may only be a bridge fuel to next-generation energy that’s even less polluting, such as hydrogen.

“Let’s get this straight – I’m for anything American; I don’t care what it is,” he said. “I’m against foreign oil.”

Pickens also called for adding a huge new wind and solar component to the nation’s electric grid, with advancements allowing storage of unused energy.

Pickens urged the Obama administration to set up a “wind bank,” to finance job-creating wind energy projects, as a lack of available funding is stifling progress, he said.

“This is the most unbelievable opportunity for a president of the United States,” Pickens said.

Obama could rally the American people to the cause of transforming the nation’s energy supplies and use, Pickens said.

“(Obama) is a charismatic guy. He makes a good speech. I think he can pull it off. And it will bring everybody together.”

Pickens has been dubbed “The Oracle of Oil” in business circles for his ability to forecast the direction of fuel prices.

On Wednesday he offered a startling prediction of what might happen if America fails to act in the next decade.

“If we don’t do anything in the next 10 years, as we didn’t the past 40 years, you will be importihttps://www.qsinano.com/files/news/newsletters/2009_01/ng_75_percent_of_your_oil.css; the security risk will be there, if something hasn’t already happened at that point,” he said.

“But you are going to be paying $200 to $300 a barrel for it.”

Pickens said he’s spent more than $58 million touting his energy plan.

“This is not a problem that an 80-year-old guy should have to have the responsibility to solve,” he said.

“It’s really generations – my children, grandchildren and others to come. If you don’t get it fixed, you are not going to have the same standard of living we have had for the past 40 years.”

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