The other night I saw TBone Pickens commercial for his plan on moving the USA from our oil dependency to renewable, clean energy solutions. Key quotes from the PickensPlan website are:
The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future — a blueprint to reduce foreign oil dependence by harnessing domestic energy alternatives, and buy us time to develop even greater new technologies.
In 1970, we imported 24% of our oil. Today it's nearly 70% and growing.
At current oil prices, we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone — that's four times the annual cost of the Iraq war. Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion — it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.
Building new wind generation facilities and better utilizing our natural gas resources can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years.
Natural gas is our country's second largest energy resource and a vital component of our energy supply. 98% of the natural gas used in the United States is from North America. But 70% of our oil is purchased from foreign nations.
According to NGVAmerica, there are more than 7 million NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicle) in use worldwide, but only 150,000 of those are in the United States.
Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns. That's a lot of money, but it's a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it's a bargain.
This is heady stuff for a billionair big Texas oilman like Tbone Pickens to be proposing. And obviously this does not help support the McCain/Bush/Republican platform position on just drilling for more oil in the USA. It has been widely speculated that this would NOT bring prices down at the gas pump, which is the main driving force of consumer American's dissatisfaction with the Fed governments lack of action on our oil crisis. Unfortunately, most Amercians could give a damn about the environment, or sending 700 BILLION per year to our foreign competition and enemy states. Our selfish consumerism is focused on one thing...our pocketbooks and economic health. The cost to our environment of pollution coming from carbon fuels is of very little concern to most voters. Should it be any surprise our politicians have given it so little heed?
Obviously this Pickens Plan and publicity is ill timed for McCain's Presidential run. He has unfortunately lined right up with Bush and company to support more drilling and has done very little in his career to deal with these issues before now. Instead of being "first up" to support and signify Pickens has some good ideas and that he will support politically this agenda, he seems bent on trying to defend against this and stay on the side of big oil profiteers and OPEC.
In a NYTimes article today by Tim Egan called "The Oil Man Cometh", he points out how embarrassing this must be to the Republicans as one of their own confronts their inadequacy and hypocrasy on this subject. A few key quotes from that article are:
Republicans are furious at their longtime benefactor. Senator John McCain is currently running an ad in which he directly blames Barack Obama for $4-a-gallon gas at the pump — as bogus a claim as anything yet made in 2008.
Meanwhile, looking bravely to the past, Bush and McCain are trying to convince us that more oil drilling will save us from $5-a-gallon gas. History says otherwise. The number of oil and gas permits on federal land doubled in the last five years, with no effect on price or supply. And Bush’s own Energy Information Administration says increased drilling wouldn’t move the market in the short term.
McCain knows this, despite the brazen lie in his Obama gas ad. He now says drilling offshore would have “a psychological impact.” Just like that “mental recession” his former chief economic adviser Phil Gramm spoke of. These guys need to get off the couch.
It’s sad to see McCain go down this path, an easy sell for a fast-food nation. Straight talk distress.
In summary, it should be interesting to see how this plays out for the elections. I have really WANTED to support McCain because of his historic "Maverick" independence within his party and his previous efforts to regulate big money influence over politics and campaign reform. Unfortunately, it now seems he has flip flopped in directions I cannot support...and while I'm not ready to vote for Obama...I continue to be distressed and depressed at the condition of our government in the shadow of so many ominous problems facing our nation.
Maybe we need to vote for a "TBone Pickens"...