The Edmond Sun

Local News

November 3, 2012

Pickens talks energy policy, leadership, presidential politics at OSU event

STILLWATER — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has an energy plan that will work, energy entrepreneur Boone Pickens said Thursday.

Pickens should know. The Oklahoma State University alum and chief benefactor said he helped develop Romney’s 21-page energy plan.

Pickens spoke Thursday at Oklahoma State University’s TEDx Talks at the university’s Seretean Center.

“He has a plan and it will work. I know it will work because I worked on it,” Pickens said, adding he supports Romney’s presidential bid.

Romney’s energy policy sets a 2020 goal for North American energy independence. Pickens has long advocated reducing the United States’ reliance on OPEC oil.

He started a program — called the Pickens Plan — to educate the public about energy use and to try to encourage Republicans and Democrats to develop an energy policy.

He sees natural gas as a bridge between petroleum-based energy and alternative fuel sources. Fuels used to power cars, trucks and other forms of powered transportation account for 70 percent of all crude oil used in the world daily, Pickens said.

“I personally have spent over $100 million educating America on energy,” Pickens said. “Yes, we are much further down the line. ... Yes, we are much better educated. Quite simply the Pickens Plan is to get on your own resources.”

Romney’s energy agenda revolves around six issues, according to a white paper released by his campaign.

The agenda:

• Lets states control onshore energy development.

• Opens offshore areas for energy development.

• Pursues a North American Energy Partnership.

• Calls for an accurate assessment of energy resources.

• Restores transparency and fairness to permitting and regulation.

• Encourages private-sector-led development of new energy technologies.

Pickens is encouraging the trucking industry in the United States to switch from diesel-fueled 18-wheelers to natural gas-fueled vehicles.

Approximately 8 million 18-wheelers move products across the United States. Converting those big rigs to natural gas would reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent and cut the U.S.’s oil imports by 3 million barrels. It would reduce the U.S.’s dependence on OPEC by 60 percent, Pickens said at a March TED Talk in Long Beach, Calif.

Thursday, Pickens, 84, said Tuesday’s presidential election could be the most important one in his lifetime.

President Barack Obama hasn’t developed an energy plan in the four years he has been president, Pickens said. Obama has pursued green energy policies that cost the nation billions of dollars without showing any results.

“It was not a bad idea. It was the way he did it,” Pickens said. “We spent way too much money and the results were horrible. It wasn’t the time for what he wanted to do.”

Moving the U.S. to energy independence should have been Obama’s policy, Pickens said.

Pickens’ talk didn’t focus on energy, OPEC or politics. He focused on 10 traits of a good leader.

The most important trait was to have a plan and follow it, he said.

CHRIS DAY writes for the Stillwater NewsPress.

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