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Monday, August 04, 2008

T. Boone Pickens Interview in New York Times

August 3, 2008

Questions for T. Boone Pickens

In the Air - NY Times Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON


As a Texas oilman and major contributor to the Republican Party, you’ve just launched yourself, at 80, into green stardom by devising an energy plan that relies mainly on wind power. How does it feel to be in the company of Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats?

If they’re on my side, that’s good. We’re working on a nonpolitical venture here.

Why do you think your energy plan is superior to others’ plans?

My dad once said to me, “Son, a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan.” I’ve used that here in this plan that I have — I’m the only one with a plan. Nobody else has a plan.

What about President Bush’s plan?

Just last month he lifted the executive ban on drilling for oil in offshore areas. Yeah, but that’s not going to fix our problem. I don’t call that a plan. You’ve got to cut the imports, because if you’re importing 70 percent of your oil, you have a security problem. Can you imagine how crippled the country would be if you had it cut off?

Your plan calls for harnessing the breezes in the wind corridor that runs from West Texas up to Canada. What about the two coasts?

People don’t generally want it on the coast.

Because the wind turbines are massive eyesores?

Yes, that’s what they believe.

And the rotor blades of the turbines chop up birds that fly into them?

That’s a myth. The windows in your office right there are killing more birds than a turbine will.

Is this all about money, ultimately?

Well, that’s kind of a silly statement. I’m worth $4 billion, and I don’t need to make any more money. But I’m not going to invest money if I don’t expect to make money. Here, I feel like I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

You helped re-elect Bush in ’04 when you gave $3 million to the Swift Boat campaign to discredit John Kerry’s Vietnam service. Do you regret your involvement?

Why would I?

Because it’s such an ugly chapter in American political history.

Oh, I see. Well, it was true. Everything that went into those ads was the truth.

Really? I thought it was all invented.

I never did anything dishonest.

Will you have any involvement in the McCain campaign?

No, definitely not. I couldn’t sell this energy plan if I — I’d be suspect. This way I am not suspect.

Are you tired of politics?

I’m just out of it for this race. If this works, I may run in the next race.

You plan to run for president at age 84?

I can see now you’re prejudiced against my age.

If not the Swift Boats, what do you regret?

There are deals I wish I hadn’t made that I didn’t make money on; I lost. I’ve been married four times, so you can imagine.

Why do Texans get married so much?

Well, I’m real old. I’ve been married over 50 years of my life. And I am not going to give you that information without you paying for it.

Is it true your current wife, for a birthday gift, had your childhood home in Holdenville, Okla., moved to your ranch in Texas?

Yes. The ranch is 300 miles west of Holdenville. We’re putting the house back to what it was like when I was a little boy.

In your forthcoming book, “The First Billion Is the Hardest,” you give some pithy career advice.

I say, you work eight hours, and you sleep eight hours — be sure they’re not the same eight hours.

What do you think of Barack Obama?

There’s no question he has run a hell of a campaign.

Would you ever vote for a Democratic candidate?

No. I wouldn’t. I’m a Republican. I don’t want to go to heaven and have to face my family up there and tell them I voted for a Democrat.


The Pickens Plan website links and recent news

Washington Post article Pickens USA Energy Plan

Businessweek story on Pickens Plan story Pickens Plan wind energy

Dallas News story The Pickens Energy Plan

Pickens Plan News Stories Analysis; UPDATED August 4th, 2008

The Pickens Plan - Online Commentary, Analysis, News Articles

Alternative Energy Investing; Wind Energy Stocks

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