Perhaps due to the very concept that a conservative Republican would embrace wind power and well aware of his $10s of millions in advertising resources, too many leading Democratic Party politicians have seemingly embraced T Boone Pickens and have given him extensive private access to private Democratic events.
Now, putting aside the not-minor issue that T Boone is unapologetic for his leading role in funding and supporting the vicious and deceit-laden swift-boating of the Democratic Party Presidential nominee, John Kerry, in 2004, there is the quite serious reality that The Pickens Plan is fatally flawed and those flaws are not brought to the table at these events were Pickens is warmly greeted as "a friend."
Tomorrow, this problematic pattern continues as T Boone will speak to a private Senate D lunch.
Since launching The Pickens Plan in 2008, T Boone Pickens has become a face for American households about the potential for changing America's energy structure.In short, T Boone advocates for a program that would reduce America's dependence on overseas oil by:
- Constructing a major wind electricity generation and transmission capability
- Use that wind to displace the 20+% of electricity from natural gas
- Use the natural gas, instead, for transportation (cars, buses, trucks)
- The Pickens Plan is not cost effective when compared to other options for reducing our foreign oil dependency;
- Wind is not an easy path for displacing natural gas electricity transmission. In fact, wind and natural gas are natural partners for a cost-effective energy system.
- The plan moves the US from one fossil-fuel dependency (oil) to another (natural gas).
- The Pickens Plan does nothing to reduce the most serious concern in the energy sector when it comes to Global Warming: coal-fired electricity generation.
- And, so on ... the list of problems is quite long.
Even with all these problems, T Boone has lots of friends in Congress, three of whom recently introduced a bill to advance T Boone's plan. From Robert Menendez's web site:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) were joined today by energy-independence advocate T. Boone Pickens to tout new legislation that would boost vehicles that run on clean natural gas. The NAT GAS Act, introduced today by Menendez and co-sponsored by Reid and Hatch, would extend and increase tax credits for natural gas vehicles and refueling.
That bill would greatly increase resources toward natural gas vehicles when the resources could be better spent elsewhere and otherwise to reduce America's oil dependency.
And, T Boone has had quite a bit of access within leading Democratic Party circles. For example, Nancy Pelosi (whose husband, by the way, invests with T Boone) arranged for T Boone to speak with the House Caucus.
DPC Lunches. Every Thursday the Senate is in session, the DPC hosts a lunch at which senators hear from leading figures in government, politics, business and journalism. Past guests have included Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Paulson, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, John Sweeney, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Moyers, Tim Russert, and Tom Friedman.
Yes, it seems that T Boone could meet the requirement of being a "leading figure" but we have to wonder whether there is going to be anyone in the room prepared with the information to and willing to challenge T. Boone Pickens' smooth truthiness-laden sales pitch.
And, let us not forget that this is occurring just as the Senate is struggling to figure out how to develop a sensible energy and climate bill to marry up with the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act. Anyone doubt that T Boone will push hard for funding for natural gas vehicles?
Is there no one else?Now, T Boone has spent much of the time since putting forward The Pickens Plan saying that there is no one else with an energy plan and challenging others to 'come up with a plan' if we don't like his. Well, the reality has been that there were lots of plans out there prior to his launching The Pickens' Plan and there are many still around. If the DPC is interested in having a serious discussion about energy issues with people whose plans will enrich the United States, improve U.S. security, and mitigate climate change, there are many (MANY) people to have in for a lunch before bringing in T Boone.
- How about, for example, Eric Schmidt from Google, who has a compelling presentation and speaks to a clearly achievable and profitable path toward 100% clean electricity within 20 years. Google.org is also investing serious money in clean energy and energy efficiency (strategic investments), with a philosophy worthy of discussion with a group of Senators.
- Or, why not bring in Sunil Paul to talk about the Gigaton Throwdown: looking at nine different paths for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1 gigaton (or more) by 2020, with a cogent discussion of the barriers for actually achieving those reductions?
- Or ... the list is virtually endless.
Some unanswered questions
Monday, I asked the DPC the following questions, to which they have yet to respond:
I understand that the DPC will be having in T Boone Pickens in for a private luncheon this week. Questions:
I will be writing on this within the next 48 hours and would therefore expect a quick turnaround on these questions.
- Does this indicate endorsement of "The Pickens Plan"?
- What other energy experts has the DPC brought in for conversations/private lunches in the past year? Past two years?
- Will there be any public record of what is said at this session?
- Has anyone done a financial analysis of The Pickens Plan?
- What concerns does the DPC have over T Boone Pickens' significant role in the swiftboating of Senator John Kerry in 2004?
Some discussions of The Pickens Plan
For a concept on how T Boone's gas for vehicles concept could be combined with other developments to potential have a real impact, see: T Boone: Why not get inventive?
Below is a dated list, from last fall, but provides some paths toward understanding The Pickens Plan's strengths and weaknesses.Brief selection of blogosphere discussions of The Pickens Plan
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: T Boone Pickens, 8/26, A Siegel
Pickens" Plan vs Pickens' Problem, 8/21, A Siegel
Picking at Pickens' Plan, 7/8, A Siegel
The Big Green Tent, 8/24, A Siegel
T. Boone Pickens Loves You and Wants to Use Your Credit Card, 8/30, JohnnyRook
T Boone Pickens trying to pick Californians Pockets, 9/9, JohnnyRook
T Boone Pickens Fancy Sales Pitch, 8/27, Plutonium Page
Is T Boone Pickens selling you shinola, or something else?, 8/26, ApolloGonzales
Sarah Palin and Boone Pickens: Birds of a Feather, 10/7, Josh Nelson
Memo to T Boone Pickens: Your energy plan is half-baked, 7/8, Joe Romm, Climate Progress (former Assistant Secretary Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, DOE)
Why T Boone Pickens' 'Clean Energy' Plan is a Ponzi Scheme, 8/21, Scott Thill
Pickens" Natural Gas Plan Makes No Sense and will never happen, 9/26, Earl Killian
Mr Pickens Half-Right Plan, 7/25, Bill Becker, Presidential Climate Action Plan