America has reached a crossroads in energy. Several plans have been offered for dealing with this crisis but none have received the publicity that the T. Boone Pickens plan has. Selecting an alternative fuel source needs to be balanced with cautious planning when moving toward such a drastic change in domestic energy policy. Recent events have revealed that in dealing with crisis our leadership has taken a reactionary approach rather than careful planning and regard for proper oversight. While the proposal put forth by T. Boone Pickens has at the surface all the appearances of a comprehensive plan, we should consider all the ramifications of adopting such a energy plan specifically when someone who is so closely tied to the oil industry proposes it.
Pickens is the driving force behind Clean Energy Fuels, a publicly traded green energy company that spent $3 million to put Proposition 10 on the ballot in California. The company is the US' largest provider of natural gas for transportation. Many of the proposed natural gas vehicles would use their facilities. This billionaire oilman turned point man for alternative energy is also the force behind the proposition, the initiative on this November ballot that proposes $5 billion in bonds to develop alternative energy markets. As it happens, he and several Congressmen including Nancy Pelosi would personally profit from its passage.
A multi-faceted approach to solving the energy needs of the U.S. is certainly the right approach; however, insuring that those steps will actually be followed through needs governmental oversight. The lack of the oil industry to invest in refinery assets in desperate need of repair in the face of record profits prove the necessity for new strict oversight. Tax incentives requiring such investment in refinery asset improvement as well as exploration and domestic production increases should be implemented rather than allowing these profits to be used to drive crude oil pricing by hedging positions in the unregulated futures markets.
The Pickens’ plan includes as a “pie in the sky” comprehensive approach the promise of wind generation as well as solar generation provisions but the primary emphasis is placed on natural gas. Moving to a natural gas centered energy economy would impact the unregulated resource markedly. The price of natural gas will increase with the adoption of this plan forcing extreme pressure on the utility markets potentially raising home heating bills – remember ENRON. How will the shift to natural gas affect the natural gas export markets? Will the government come clean about the myth that there are no exports of domestically produced natural gas and crude?
GM has not been forthcoming and fair with the US consumer. GM was involved in the scandal surrounding the EV1-the electric car that was secretly shredded after California lifted its’ zero emissions mandate in the 1990s. The EV1, a plug-in car, was capable of 110 miles on a single charge. Many Hollywood types such as Tom Hanks were given the opportunity to test the vehicle over a two-year period as part of a GM sponsored lease program. When the lease expired the cars were returned to GM and subsequently destroyed. GM citing the vehicle was too expensive to manufacture denied several celebrity end-of-lease purchase attempts. As a side note to the EV1 debacle there was new battery technology developed which GM acquired ownership of. When the EV1 program was squashed the technology was sold to Texaco Oil. It seems doubtful the advances in this particular battery technology will ever surface again. GM now touts the Volt – a concept plug-in hybrid not yet available for purchase – as the successor to the EV1. Remarkably the so-called successor reportedly gets a measly 40 miles on a charge.
One thing is abundantly clear, the American people are being victimized and held hostage by this current leadership with their allegiance to lobbies. Dignitaries tell us that they know what is best for the country. The absolute truth is there are no absolute truths rather only convenient truths. Anyone who believes that the future of this country and our economic health can be managed by people who profess their un-biased opinons and proposals needs to remember one thing – we the people, voted for change in the last election. We were promised quick solution up to impeachment of those who mishandled their power under the Constitution and rather than up-holding their oath in office they have also trampled on the most important document that binds this country. It is time for change – vote against every incumbent in office. Let’s take back our country and change the faces in Washington and in our state governments.
Pelosi, Nancy "Financial Disclosure Report for Calendar Year 2007," 15 May 2008.
Wildemuth, John "Pelosi's husband prefers a low profile; Successful investor has taken care to avoid causing controversy," San Francisco Chronicle 1 Jan 2007.
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. "Prospectus" on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 21 May 2008.
Consumer Federation of California "CFC Opposes Proposition 10 - Vote No on this $10 billion dollar boondoggle" undated position paper. Accessed 20 Aug 2008.
Editorial: "Prop. 10 looks 'green' but it's the wrong shade" San Jose Mercury News 28 July 2008.
Woodyard, Chris “Natural-gas powered cars – Who even knows they exist?” USA Today July 5th 2007.