I'm a pretty straightforward guy. That's the way I run my businesses. That's the way I live my life. And if you've ever heard me speak then you know that's the way I talk. But when you call it like you see it, some people always seem to hear something else.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I made a name for myself as a shareholder rights advocate. I'd find poorly run companies and then tell their management that if they didn't shape up, I'd be more than happy to come on board and run them myself. The end result was that some of the biggest companies in America started to pay attention to the way they did business. Wall Street took notice and the value of their shares grew, which meant that millions of American shareholders, including my own company's, benefited.
It was a good deal for everyone, but don't think for a minute that I was ever referred to as a shareholder rights advocate. I got labeled a corporate raider, a takeover specialist.
Three decades later, the same lessons apply. For almost a year I've been trying to get our country to develop a national energy plan and end our addiction to foreign oil. My critics don't see it as such. One lady said that the real reason I launched the Pickens Plan was that I was trying to atone for past sins. (That's my favorite.) Other notions exist, like I'm really out to increase the value of all the oil and gas fields I own. (Make that the oil and gas fields I don't own.)
The truth is a whole lot simpler.
I've been in the energy business my entire professional career, and since 1950 I've watched our country go from buying some foreign oil to buying a lot of foreign oil to buying too much foreign oil.
Do you think the U.S. can afford to spend half a trillion dollars on imported oil? I sure don't, particularly with our economy in the shape it is today. Yet that's how much we spent in 2008. And if we keep buying more and more foreign oil, we'll spend an estimated $2 trillion a year by 2020.
Does this make sense to you? It sure doesn't make sense to me, especially when we have so much domestic energy right here that we're not tapping into.
Just last week, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal did stories on a new government study that shows that our nation's estimated natural gas reserves have shot up by 35 percent just in the last year and 58 percent in the past four years.
"The huge increase in estimated gas supplies comes just as concerns about energy security and climate change are prompting the most profound shift in energy policy since the oil shocks of the 1970s," wrote the Times in "Estimate Places Natural Gas Reserves 35% Higher.
"The report ... concludes that the U.S. has 2,074 trillion cubic feet of natural gas still in the ground, or nearly a century's worth of production at current rates," wrote the Journal in "U.S. Natural-Gas Supplies Surge."
These facts and figures speak for themselves. I'm pushing the Pickens Plan because the answers to some of the most important questions facing our country today can be found right here in America. We can ensure our energy security, strengthen our national security, and help get our economy get back on its feet by relying on domestic energy sources.
It's that simple.
Follow T. Boone Pickens on Twitter: www.twitter.com/boonepickens