T. Boone Pickens to Bring Energy Plan to Montana

By Beacon Staff

T. Boone Pickens, the 80-year-old Dallas billionaire, has spent millions in his quest to rid America of its dependence on foreign oil. He has lobbied lawmakers to sign on to his cause that would increase both the use of wind power and natural gas. He has been greeted with wide acclaim and a dose of skepticism. Now, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the Montana Ambassadors will get front-row seats to the so-called Pickens Plan– which faces a bit more skepticism now that the price of gasoline has fallen.

A press release from the governor’s office:

Governor Brian Schweitzer, in partnership with the Montana Ambassadors, has arranged for T. Boone Pickens to speak at the Ambassadors annual conference on February 27th at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena.

T. Boone Pickens has received national and international attention for his campaign to reduce the United States’ foreign oil dependence by at least 30% within ten years by developing domestic energy resources. This September Governor Schweitzer signed the Pickens Pledge and reaffirmed Montana’s commitment to developing our abundant energy resources, saying: “We must end our dependency on petro-dictators. We need American energy, produced by American workers, made right here at home”.

Montana is particularly well-suited to Pickens’ pledge being one of the nation’s top ranking in wind power potential, oil and gas reserves and Governor Schweitzer’s strong support for new energy development. “Governor Schweitzer is a national leader in energy, I am honored to have him joining me in the fight to make energy independence the top priority of the next administration”, said Pickens.

The Montana Ambassadors are a diverse group of private and public sector representatives charged with assisting the Governor in recruiting new businesses to Montana. Chapters are currently established in Seattle, Denver and San Francisco with plans to expand to additional cities in the west and mid-west.

While Montana would be well-suited to benefit from the Pickens’ plan on energy development, with the recent drop in oil prices the Texan may have a tougher sell. From the Wall Street Journal:

The flinty Dallas billionaire is going all out to sell lawmakers and the next administration on his plan to wean the U.S. off Middle East oil by ramping up the use of wind power and natural gas.

Trouble is, energy markets, and a fair share of skeptics, keep tilting against him.

When the 80-year-old oil magnate launched his vaunted Pickens Plan on July 8, crude oil was at $136 a barrel and rising. Crude has since slumped to below $40 a barrel, as have public concerns over oil supplies and the urgent need for alternatives.

“Cheap oil doesn’t help,” says Mr. Pickens, who predicted in July that oil would never again dip below $100 a barrel. “It just means we have to work harder.”