News Release

Scrutinizing the “Pickens Plan”

[NOTE: Correction appended below.]

T. Boone Pickens speaks today at the National Press Club. The following analysts are available for interviews on his proposals:

ROBERT BRYCE
Bryce’s latest book is Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of “Energy Independence.” He is the managing editor of Energy Tribune and is a contributing writer for the Texas Observer.

He said today: “I’m all for using more natural gas vehicles, particularly for the heavy truck fleet. But Pickens exaggerates the ability of NGVs to get us off of foreign oil. On his Web site, he claims that using natural gas as a transportation fuel will mean ‘reducing our dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third.’ I don’t know what math he’s using, but even a 100-fold increase in the size of the NGV fleet will only cut America’s need for foreign oil by about 11 percent and overall oil consumption by about 7 percent.”
More Information

TYSON SLOCUM
Slocum is director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. He said today: “It’s great that an oil man like Pickens is highlighting the need for sustainable energy like wind. But his ‘Pickens Plan’ cannot be viewed simply as a national energy policy because of Pickens’ huge personal financial stakes in the policies he promotes. And many of his claims are inaccurate. While it is true that America can and should displace the 20 percent of power generated by natural gas with wind, replacing gasoline with compressed natural gas (CNG) in our cars and trucks isn’t feasible outside of fleets (public buses, police cars, etc.) because of the significant costs of making CNG available at corner gas stations.

“And Pickens’ boast that fueling cars with natural gas would be 40 percent cheaper than oil is misleading, as natural gas prices will skyrocket as demand for CNG soars. And at the end of the day, natural gas is a fossil fuel that increasingly must be extracted in more environmentally sensitive habitats in the Rockies and offshore.

“Real energy reform places solar panels on our buildings, increases reliance on wind and puts people behind the wheel of plug-in hybrids and in mass transit so that we end our addiction not only to oil, but to corporate control over our energy. Unfortunately, some groups, like the Sierra Club, have signed on to Pickens’ plan because T. Boone showers money on groups and politicians. That’s one of the reasons we at Public Citizen don’t take corporate money.”

Slocum also noted that “non-OPEC nations supply 56 percent of our imports, with Canada alone supplying more oil than we get from the entire Persian Gulf.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

CORRECTION:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Correction: Sierra Club and “Pickens Plan”

An IPA news release, sent out on Sept. 22 quoting Tyson Slocum from Public Citizen, implied that the Sierra Club has thrown its support behind T. Boone Pickens’ “Pickens Plan” because the Sierra Club has received money from the Texas oilman. This is false. Slocum was quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, some groups, like the Sierra Club, have signed on to Pickens’ plan because T. Boone showers money on groups and politicians. That’s one of the reasons we at Public Citizen don’t take corporate money.” The Sierra Club, in fact, has not accepted any money from Pickens. Public Citizen regrets the inference made that they had, and apologizes for the error. The Institute for Public Accuracy also regrets the error.