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The NAT GAS Act (H.R. 1835 and S. 1408) continues to gain momentum and support.

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The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released a study titled "Developing Natural Gas for Heavy Vehicles" on the need to get our heavy trucks and buses off imported oil and on to domestic natural gas. By focusing on heavy vehicles we can reduce our oil imports by 1.2 million barrels a day, which is 25 percent of what we import from OPEC on a daily basis. It's verification of what we've been saying since we introduced the Pickens Plan.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey wrote in his Wall Street Journal Op-Ed that "We should pay attention to T. Boone Pickens's recommendations to switch to natural gas for fleet vehicles such as buses, and for interstate trucking. Buses and trucks are easily modified to run on natural gas and would only require new pumps at a few central locations and interstate truck stops."

For a closer look at Director Woolsey's comments, at http://bit.ly/bULOrM
Earlier this week I testified about it before the full Ways & Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The need for Congressional action to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is becoming more and more obvious. Oil is back up to $85 per barrel on the world market and it will just keep going up.

Every President since Richard Nixon has pledged to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. President Obama has vowed to eliminate our dependence on OPEC oil in 10 years. We can do that. And when we do, President Obama will be the only one to have made good on his promise.

We should not send out money nor our jobs overseas. We have to create American jobs, not OPEC jobs, and not jobs which can be "off-shored" anywhere else.

The Pickens Plan will enhance the economy, improve the environment and resolve the national security threat caused by our dependence on foreign oil, much of it from OPEC and many other nations who don't have our best interests at heart.

I'm for any fuel, as long as it's American. For power generation, that means using everything, including wind and solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal.

But, two-thirds of our foreign oil is used as a transportation fuel. Building more nuclear plants or more solar or wind farms will not make a dent on oil imports. The only way we can solve the OPEC oil threat is by replacing their expensive, dirty, foreign fuel with cleaner, cheaper, American natural gas in our trucks and fleets.

We have well over a 200-year supply of natural gas according to current estimates. We have enough to do everything, and we're going to look like fools if we don't use it in transportation.

The Congress should adopt legislation that significantly enhances the use of domestic natural gas as a transportation fuel for heavy duty trucks and fleet such as that which is contained in H.R. 1835, the NAT GAS Act.

More organizations are coming on-board with this approach. The Center for American Progress (CAP) has just released a report showing the benefits of going to natural gas for heavy trucks. That important report can be read at http://bit.ly/aAal6H.

Let's dismiss two concerns I hear over and over:

First, government doesn't have a role in this. "Let the free markets work," they say.

If you think OPEC is a free market, you're nuts. Look at China. It's been on an oil-buying binge, acquiring production around the world from major suppliers--in anticipation of its growing needs. China's state-owned oil companies have an economic advantage by financing these, and other purchases, with money borrowed from China's state-owned banks. Does that sound like the free market?

There is a full discussion of the China issue on the Pickens Plan web page available at: http://www.pickensplan.com/china/

Second, the skeptics say there's no natural gas fueling infrastructure. Forget it. If you create the market, the private sector will build it. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had told Henry Ford: "Forget about building Model Ts. There's no place to fuel them"?

The hearing was focused on jobs. The NAT GAS Act will produce them. It will put 236,000 clean natural gas trucks on America's roads. That will have two effects: You will displace 5 percent of foreign diesel demand each year; and, you will create more than 600,000 American jobs; roughly the same number of temporary jobs created for the 2010 census. Each Class 8 truck -- the heaviest of the heavy duty -- converted to natural gas creates 6 jobs.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. We should have had a national energy plan 40 years ago. We didn't, so the second best time is today.

Congress should move the NAT GAS Act quickly to the floor for action. It will create jobs, reduce the deficit, improve the environment, and protect our national security.