Reaction to oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens' energy plan

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - By now, you may have seen the television commercials by Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens.  He's started a one man campaign to reduce the nation's crippling 700-billion dollar dependence on foreign oil.

So, we wanted to take a closer look at that plan.  Pickens explained it before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee this week, pitching his idea to transform our energy system.  He said using wind to operate power plants should produce 22-percent of the country's electrical needs and re-direct that natural gas for the nation's transportation system.

Craig Watts, a wealth advisor for Williams Financial Advisors in Shreveport explained, "it's cleaner, it's cheaper to refine, burns 30-percent cleaner than gasoline.  There's already natural gas cars in production."  And, Pickens predicts his plan would reduce the nation's foreign dependence on oil by 38 percent.

Ray Lasseigne of TMR Exploration in Bossier City told us he likes the idea but added, "the real limitation is having the infrastructure to get the electricity generated to the consumer."  That may explain why Pickens' plan would take ten years and cost a trillion dollars.  "But that's a one time cost, not 700-billion dollars per year," said Watts.

Relying more on natural gas could put the Haynesville Shale in northwest Louisiana in an even better market situation.  And it turns out, that's not the only local connection to Pickens' vision.  This one involves the Beaird Company, a longtime company in Shreveport which makes wind towers.

Pickens' plan would rely nearly 100 percent on resources produced here at home.  He said it can all be accomplished with private investment but needs government support.  That means help on providing the transmission rights of way, and renewals of energy tax credits, among other things.