Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Earlier, I warned you that if T. Boone Pickens is now a huge believer in wind power as an alternative energy source, it's only because he stands to make a buck off of it. Kevin Drum is now kind enough to explain exactly what T. Boone stands to gain from Texas wind power:

Well, as near as I can tell, here's the story. Pickens wants to build his electricity transmission facilities on a strip of land 250 feet wide and 250 miles long that starts at his farm in Roberts County, Texas, and terminates in Dallas. Why that particular strip? Because Pickens has been buying up massive water rights from the Ogallala Aquifer and he wants to pipe that water to Dallas at huge profit. Unfortunately, pipeline right-of-way is pretty hard to acquire, so Pickens figured out a way to get some help: he formed a little water district headed by his wife and a friend and then convinced the Texas legislature that water plus wind electricity was a good reason to use its power of eminent domain to hand over the land to him for a song. Wind power wasn't really the motivation for this land snatch, it was just a sweetener for a water deal.

Clever — and typically Texan, no? Still, why not just sell the electricity? Why the natural gas switcheroo? Turns out Pickens has a vested interest there too:

Along with being the country's biggest wind power developer, Pickens owns Clean Energy Fuels Corp., a natural gas fueling station company that is the sole backer of the stealthy Proposition 10 on California's November ballot.

....But a closer read finds a laundry list of cash grabs — from $200 million for a liquefied natural gas terminal to $2.5 billion for rebates of up to $50,000 for each natural gas vehicle. Much of the measure's billions could benefit Pickens' company to the exclusion of almost all other clean-vehicle fuels and technology.

So the windmills are an excuse to condemn land for a water pipeline, and the natural gas piece of the plan benefits Pickens' NG fueling station company. And while natural gas burns cleaner than oil, it's still a fossil fuel that's found mostly in Russia and the Middle East. Increasing our dependence on gas does little in the long term to promote energy independence.

Well-played T. Boone. Misusing the power of government to steal from others, enrich yourself, and get your cronies elected to office, is typically Texan. Republican Texan, that is.

1 comment:

Nat-Wu said...

That's such an awesomely corrupt thing to do, I have to give him props for being the slimiest Texan business man I've ever heard of!