From the October 01, 2010 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Boone: The man with a big plan


FM: So we have a shock, oil goes back down and then it is not on the front burner.

Boone: That is the way it goes. But you’ve got a very strong lobby in Washington by the major oil companies. The major oil companies are international, they are not American companies. People get the idea that Exxon, Chevron and Conoco Phillips are American companies. They are domiciled in the United States, but Exxon for instance gets 84% of their revenues from offshore. Is there anything wrong with them? Of course not. They are well operated, well managed companies – but they are not companies I would ask about domestic oil policy.

You look at OPEC’s revenue in 2003 and they were $250 billion, their revenue in 2008 was $1.25 trillion, five times as much. If you can’t do anything about it, that is one thing, but if you can do something about it, you are stupid not to.

FM: You have held strong political views in the past. Is that making your bipartisan efforts hard to accept by some?

Boone: I don’t think so. I worked very well with the majority leader Harry Reid. I had been a Republican in the past but Reid and I made a deal in June of ’08 were I said I was getting out of politics. This is a bipartisan issue. I am going to promote it that way and try and accomplish an energy plan for America. We talked for an hour and a half and he said ‘I will help you do it,’ and he has done everything he said he would do. And John Larson (D-Ct.) over in the House understands it. He is frustrated that we can’t get it passed, but we still have time to do it. I think it will happen.

FM: We are in an extremely partisan political environment where cooperation seems nearly impossible, even on issues where there is agreement. Do you think there can be bipartisan support for your plan if brought forward?

Boone: Well if you look at the House cosponsors of 1835, it has 144 cosponsors and they are 50/50 Democrats and Republicans. Hell, I think I’ve got bipartisan support for an energy plan, you just got to get it in there and vote on it.

FM: Are you confident it is going to happen this fall?

Boone: Confident? I will go ahead and say confident, I think it is going to happen. Mildly confident. We need it. We desperately need an energy plan. My God, these guys in Washington are supposed to be taking care of the country. Nobody argues with me about it. Nobody will stand up and say ‘Boone you don’t know what you are talking about; Boone what you are suggesting is totally ridiculous; Boone we are fine the way we are,’ none of that. This is all about this country. I truly believe I have a mission to get an energy plan for America.

ImageFM: What could derail it?

Boone: That they never vote on it. That they can’t get 60 votes. The fracing issue is struggling in the Senate; it is hard to get 60 votes on that. If it fails it will fail for that reason. You got to get it out of the Senate and they got to get something to get 60 votes on.

We are going to know really quick. You’ve got eight legislative days in September and eight in October. I think they will try at that time, if we miss then you’ve got a lame duck.

FM: This is going to come out Oct. 1, what are the chances this is passed by the time your face is on the cover of Futures?

Boone: At that point probably 50/50. Your timing could be perfect. I am fixed to go to Washington in that 16-day window; if I can help them I will be there working on it.

FM: What is your opinion on the stalled cap and trade legislation?

Boone: They can’t get the votes for cap and trade. Now is not the time for cap and trade. It passed the House by three votes and it is over in the Senate and they can’t get 60 votes for it. Cap and trade is a tax and people don’t want taxes.

FM: Don’t you support a gas tax?

Boone: I am not saying a gasoline tax would help my deal. I just said, when asked looking at what we are up against. we need money. I said I would look at a gasoline tax because gasoline is cheaper (in the United States) than any other place in the industrialized world.

FM: Conceptually, do you support cap and trade?

Boone: No, I don’t. But I would take it to get what I want. I told them that and I did not go out and work against cap and trade. I did what I said I would do. I was supportive of my part of the bill and let the rest of it shake out and they couldn’t get the votes for it.

FM: You still operate a commodity based fund. How is that business going?

Boone: We are struggling this year. We had a good year last year, we were up 17% on the equity fund and 105% on the commodity fund.

FM: How will it be affected by the recently passed Dodd-Frank Act, particularly in regard to the expectation of speculative position limits in energy futures?

Boone: I don’t see that that affects us. We are not concerned about it.

FM: What is your view on the argument that speculators caused the spike in crude in 2008?

Boone: I don’t think that is the case.

FM: Will the plan be implemented?

Boone: I told you, 50/50 it happens this year.

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