T. Boone Pickens, the legendary oil investor and, more recently, a devout champion of ending America's reliance on fossil fuels, said on Tuesday that he's confident the Obama administration's hotly-anticipated climate change bill will be announced soon by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada).
Pickens, who spoke on Tuesday with HuffPost's Ryan McCarthy at the Milken Institute's Global Conference in Los Angeles, said he's been working closely with Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Graham to ensure the bill will include tax credits for natural gas fuels for trucks and manufacturers.
"[Natural gas is] the only resource we have in America that will move an 18-wheeler other than diesel, and we're importing the diesel," Pickens said. "It's cleaner, cheaper, abundant and ours. We're fools not to do this."
Pickens added that he'll support the legislation -- provided it includes the natural gas credits he called for. Pickens is pushing tax credits of $65,000 for the purchase of natural-gas powered trucks.
"I don't know the other parts of the bill," Pickens said. "But I will be for the bill. I will just have to accept the other parts because this is too important for the security of America."
Despite the ballooning Federal deficit, Pickens said America's economy can't wait to pass a climate bill that would cut America's dependence on fossil fuels. "Foreign oil is two thirds of the trade deficit," he said. "We gotta get this thing down."
Switching America's trucks to natural gas, Pickens said, will pay immediate dividends to the economy. "When we accomplish that, which is going to take us we will cut OPEC in half. We are importing 5 million barrels a day from OPEC. And with 8 million [in America] 18-wheelers we can take out 2.5 million barrels a day."
Pickens, who famously took oil executives to task in the 1980s for their huge pay packages, declined to comment on the financial crisis and Wall Street pay.
"You won't see me on anything else but energy," Pickens said. "I'm out of politics."