T. Boone Pickens – An Oilman Turns to Wind Power

By Beacon Staff

It’s no secret the United States is in the midst of an energy crisis. We import almost 70 percent of our oil, costing us $700 billion per year. We use 25 percent of the world’s oil, with only 4 percent of the population. Oil is getting harder to find and more expensive to extract. We need a bold vision for what’s next.

Everyone seems to have a solution these days. There are a plethora of ideas from all sectors – some are feasible, some are not. Some want to stop using fossil fuels immediately, while others want to drill as many holes in the earth as possible and suck out every last drop of oil. One thing we all agree on: something needs to be done. And soon.

One of the more unique, achievable, and downright interesting ideas comes from a very unlikely source – an oilman who unequivocally states this is one crisis we “cannot drill our way out of.” T. Boone Pickens has made $4 billion in his 60-plus years in the oil industry. He knows perhaps better than anyone where the oil is, how much is there and how to get it out. However, according to his energy plan, we shouldn’t waste our time or recourses.

Pickens’ Plan (www.pickensplan.com) is a bridge to the future, a blueprint to reduce foreign oil dependency by harnessing domestic energy alternatives and buy us time to develop even cleaner and cheaper new technologies. He calls for substantial investment in wind power and the transmission lines to deliver it, and for more use of cleaner burning, domestic natural gas for some transportation sectors, such as city busses and long hall shipping. This will directly impact energy prices and the importation of foreign oil. It will keep more of our money home during a time when our economy needs it. And, this plan will help reduce our carbon footprint.

The United States is the “Saudi Arabia of wind.” According to the Department of Energy, we can produce 20 percent of our power from electricity. One 3-megawatt wind turbine can produce as much energy in a year as 12,000 barrels of imported oil. Montana has a large role to play; we have tremendous potential for wind power and the land on which to harness it. Wind power has the potential to create good-paying jobs in rural Montana while providing rental income for farmers and ranchers.

Pickens is not just blowing smoke. He invested almost $60 million toward a national campaign on this issue. You may have seen the ads. He’s also hired organizers (like me) in a dozen states to build coalitions of support and gather feedback. Check out the Web site www.PickensPlan.com and get involved. The next president and Congress will need substantial grassroots support to invest the needed resources into our energy independence. This is no small task.

The Pickens Plan is a unique opportunity for conservationists and industry to join together to help solve global climate change and America’s energy crisis.

Adam Pimley has been hired as a contractor by the Pickens Plan to build grassroots support in Montana. He can be reached at [email protected]