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At least one oil man sees renewable energy, in this case wind energy, as the future for America’s energy needs…and it’s not the purported “oil man” in the White House. T. Boone Pickens, who made his wealth in the oil industry has come out in favor of wind energy as a way for the U.S. to stop spending $700 billion dollars each year on foreign oil. As he notes “We have to take control of our own destiny as far as foreign oil is concerned.” (“T. Boone Pickens Plans Wind-Energy Initiative”, Newsweek, July 12, 2008, Pickens rightly feels that the importation of 70% of our oil needs (and climbing) has been nothing short of a national disaster. His solution is to harness the wind that sweeps through the plains of West Texas and Oklahoma through a series of wind farms.

He’s even going farther than that — Mr. Pickens is spending $58 million dollars on an advertising campaign whose bottom line message is that we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices. The implication of that message is that anyone else who says otherwise is a fraud — including the Texan in the White House. He even goes so far as to describe the Republican’s energy plan to open up offshore continental shelf for more oil exploration as a solution to the high gas prices as “totally misleading.” Of course, he’s not necessarily opposed to more drilling but at least he’s got the honesty to admit that it won’t do anything to alleviate the pain at the pump Americans are feeling.

Mr. Pickens is looking forward to the future…unlike Senator McCain and President Bush who appear to be mired in the past. McCain feels that Senator Barack Obama is directly to blame for the fact that gas stands at $4 a gallon today…so much so that he’s using that message as part of his presidential advertising campaign. And all this time I thought it had to do with supply and demand! Both the good Senator and President Bush wholeheartedly believe that if we just drill for more oil here then we’ll save ourselves from the prospect of $5 a gallon for gas (The Oil Man Cometh”, Timothy Egan, New York Times, July 24, 2008). The fact is history is against these two. The number of oil and gas permits on federal land has doubled in the last five years with no impact on price or supply and the President’s own Energy Information Administration says that increased drilling would not impact the market in the short term (The Oil Man Cometh”, Timothy Egan, New York Times, July 24, 2008). Senator McCain thinks that opening up for offshore drilling would have a “psychological impact” and drive prices down. Right…and if you believe that then I’ve got some prime land on the moon that you may be interested in.

The Republicans have no vision of an oil or fossil-fuel free future (try saying that three times fast) and try to blame the current situation on the Democrats. Why not be honest like Mr. Pickens and come up with a real plan to get the U.S. off the oil needle?

July 2008
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