U.S. energy future lies beneath our feet
BY T. BOONE PICKENS
Saturday, September 17, 2011
9/17/11 at 5:28 AM
Our country needs an energy plan, and we need it now. We have no time to waste. Our economy continues to struggle in low gear, desperately needing a shift in direction. Our unemployment rate is unacceptably high. We need jobs. We need capital to invest in American businesses.
And it's going to be a struggle to fix it unless we tackle our OPEC oil dependency.
As long as we continue to rely upon OPEC oil, our economy will continue to run on empty, putting our national security and economy in greater peril every day.
As Joe Nocera put it when he aptly summed up the basis for my energy plan in a recent New York Times op-ed, we cannot continue to depend on "the fuel we don't have." Without a plan to capitalize on the fuel we do have, natural gas, we place our security in jeopardy and deprive our country of capital which would be better earned and spent at home.
On the national stage, the absence of action addressing this issue can be attributed to an absence of leadership and guidance. It is crippling our national security and our economy. Every president since Richard Nixon has promised we would one day be energy-independent.
The most recent example is President Obama, who declared that under his watch, Middle East oil imports would end.
Yet, here we sit, adrift, continuing to search for action. Presidential promises have not amounted to presidential action.
But there's good news. While we wait on leadership from Washington, great things are happening at the state and local levels. Leaders around the country are answering the call for action. One such leader is Tulsa Tech, whose new, modern automotive training facility was officially unveiled Friday in Broken Arrow.
The automotive section will train mechanics to keep the next generation of liquid natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) heavy-duty and mid-size trucks humming efficiently down America's interstate highways, carrying American-produced goods while running on affordable and abundant American natural gas.
Tulsa Tech's commitment to LNG and CNG training fills a specialized gap and ensures we have the mechanical expertise needed to meet the rising demand for natural gas. As fleet operations begin transitioning their fleets to LNG and CNG trucks over the next five to eight years, jobs will be created, and OPEC oil will be replaced with American natural gas. What is not to like?
Another example of leadership can also be found in Oklahoma. A few weeks ago, Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation announced a well-conceived, three-pronged plan to help end our nation's addiction to OPEC oil in the next five to 10 years. Chesapeake's plan, announced by the company's chairman and CEO, Aubrey McClendon, represents a step in the right direction. I recently visited the website Chesapeake designed to educate Americans on the details of the company's forward-looking plan (www.tulsaworld.com/chesapeake) I encourage you to check it out.
Here in the U.S., we have an abundant fuel in natural gas, and we can move toward a transportation future that runs on both American natural gas and oil by passing the Natural Gas Act (HR 1380), a visionary piece of legislation championed by U.S. Reps. John Sullivan and Dan Boren of Oklahoma. The legislation would give America's truckers the direction and incentives they need to begin moving their new trucks to domestic natural gas and away from OPEC oil/diesel.
The catalyst of the last industrial revolution was cheap oil. Let's rekindle that flame with the era of cheap and clean American natural gas.
We have an opportunity and responsibility to pave the way for coming generations, and we need to recognize and capitalize on affordable sources of energy. The opportunity for a cleaner, safer energy future lies in wait beneath our feet. It's time to act.
T. Boone Pickens was born in Oklahoma and is the architect of "The Pickens Plan" aimed at diversifying America's energy portfolio. For more information go to pickensplan.com.
The fuel we do have
T. Boone Pickens: We have an opportunity and responsibility to pave the way for coming generations, and we need to recognize and capitalize on affordable sources of energy. The opportunity for a cleaner, safer energy future lies in wait beneath our feet. It's time to act.