Energy financier and natural gas advocate T. Boone Pickens joined Gov. Phil Bryant and other utility and business leaders Wednesday to unveil a statewide energy policy for Mississippi.
“While we wait for Washington and Congress to act, leadership is emerging at the state level, and this week, Mississippi, under the leadership of Gov. Phil Bryant, is helping move America further down the road towards meaningful progress on the energy front,” Pickens said.
The Oklahoma-born financier is the founder of the investment firm BP Capital and has been a leader in independent energy exploration and production for more than 40 years.
Pickens spoke with MBJ video journalist Stephen McDill about his natural gas vision and how he is selling it both to the business and political community.
He expressed disappointment in Mississippi senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker’s decision to vote against the Natural Gas Act.
“What they voted against was an energy plan for America,” Pickens said. “(The Act) was an amendment on the transportation bill… I couldn’t understand it. Maybe they didn’t understand the bill, but it has no cost to taxpayers in it.”
Pickens said that natural gas opponents like petroleum refiner Koch Industries have spent a lot of money to slow his advocacy. “They’re in the chemical business which their margins are better if they have cheap natural gas and they’re in the fertilizer business. Also they are one of the biggest recipients of ethanol subsidy and they import 61,000 barrels of OPEC crude.”
“This is all about American, that’s it,” Pickens said. “If anyone has a better plan than I do… hell let’s do their plan instead of mine. I’m the only one that’s got the plan.”
Pickens said he has talked to all of the current Republican presidential candidates about a national energy policy and that while they all say they have a plan “they don’t say anything more than that about it.”
“(President Obama) said at the nomination speech in Denver in ’08… he said in ten years we will not import any oil from the Mideast. He’s never mentioned it since,” Pickens said. “That’s been three and a half years ago. We have no plan to stop importing oil from the Mideast. We import oil from the Mideast 5 million barrels a day from OPEC is what it costs us. We can get off all that. We spend $500 billion a year on foreign oil.”