T. Boone Pickens Blames the Koch Brothers For Lack of American Energy Plan
In an interview with Yahoo Finance's Aaron Task at last week's Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, famed energy investor T. Boone Pickens said that special interest groups do not want a comprehensive American energy plan.
Pickens is a leading proponent for transitioning America's energy infrastructure from reliance on foreign oil to cheap, clean, American natural gas. In recent years, Pickens has spent much of his time, and money, promoting the usage of natural gas throughout the country and trying to convince lawmakers that natural gas could be the energy solution that ends the country's dependence on imported crude oil.
The discovery of massive amounts of natural gas in rock and shale formations throughout the country has caused a large supply glut and natural gas prices have fallen nearly 50% over the last year. Natural gas is not only cheap and incredibly plentiful in the United States, but it is also cleaner than other energy alternatives.
The problem with transitioning the country's energy infrastructure over to natural gas has been, in large part, a political one. "It's very hard to get an energy plan," Pickens laments. "It isn't a failure of the Democrats. It's not a failure of the Republicans. It's a bipartisan failure. Over the years neither party could provide the leadership to have an energy plan."
One of the primary opponents of a comprehensive American energy plan, according to Pickens, is his fellow billionaires David and Charles Koch, who run the country's second largest privately-held corporation Koch Industries.
He told Task that "the biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America is Koch Industries. They do not want an energy plan for America because they have the cheapest natural gas price they've ever had, and they're in the fertilizer business and they're in the chemical business. So their margins are huge. And they do not want you to have an energy plan, because if you had a plan, then natural gas prices would come up."
The accusation by Pickens is certainly bold, as the Koch brothers are among the very select few people in the country who can compete with T. Boone Pickens in terms of wealth and political influence.
BusinessInsider reports that Koch Industries "has spent at at least $5 million in lobbying in each of the past four years, and given at least $1,000,000 in seven of the last eight election cycles, according to data from OpenSecrets. In 2008, the company spent nearly $18 million on lobbying for oil and gas interests alone, according to Open Secrets. They've already spent $2.3 million on oil and gas lobbying in 2012."
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