Oil trading legend T. Boone Pickens thinks we can cut by half the amount of oil we import from the Middle East in seven years and he has spent $62 million of his own money to do it.
Pickens, speaking Tuesday at the CME Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples Fl. laid out his plan to replace the energy source for the roughly 6-million truck fleet of 18-wheelers, which transports goods across the United States from diesel fuel to natural gas.
Pickens said he was on a mission to help solve our security problem. The problem as he sees it is we import more than 65% of our crude oil about half of which from countries that are not friendly to us. Pickens says it is essential for our national security though he is quick to point out that switching to natural gas would also create jobs and have significant environmental benefits as well.
He hasn’t abandoned previous initiatives on harnessing wind power but he says with natural gas we can have an immediate impact on the amount of crude oil we import.
"You will see numerous advantages of using natural gas over diesel but the biggest advantage is its yours, diesel is foreign," Pickens said.
There are two bills working their way through both houses of Congress, which could get passed this year according to Pickens. "This is one that the politicians can feel good about it. You are getting over 1 million jobs."
Pickens is optimistic regarding current legislation that would put his plan in affect because it would appeal to all sides of the political spectrum. "This administration is going to have to have a non-partisan issue of some substance to pass and pass quickly. This bill will pass quickly. I am confident that a year from now we will have legislation that will start to clear up the problem on security."
He adds that there is a 50/50 chance legislation would be passed by yearend.
"It doesn’t have anything to do with politics, it is all about America. We are going to solve a problem," Pickens said.