EAST HARTFORD, Conn., U.S.A. — The recent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico “provided a clear reminder of the fact that our nation needs to develop
safe methods for drilling and more importantly, start diversifying our nation’s
energy sources,” one of the country’s most powerful congressmen said.
T. Boone Pickens.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat, said the United States should
heed the advice of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens to fuel the nation’s
transportation system with natural gas instead of foreign oil.
“We can no longer stand idle as we continue to export American dollars for
foreign oil,” Larson told Youth Journalism International recently.
Pickens said politicians have been promising solutions for years, saying they
will start to use alternative energy sources, but the country keeps buying
“Natural gas is cleaner, it’s cheaper and it’s ours,” Pickens said. “Why aren’t
we using it?”
“America’s had no energy plan” for years, Larson said during a forum at Goodwin
College in East Hartford.
Larson, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House, said he strongly supports
the “Pickens Plan” to use the abundant natural gas reserves in America to
replace the use of foreign oil. The U.S. Senate recently endorsed it as part of
a proposed energy bill spurred by the BP spill off the coast of Louisiana.
The measure pushed by Pickens “is something that all of America needs to
embrace,” Larson said.
T. Boone Pickens, left, and U.S. Rep. John Larson at Goodwin College in
East Hartford, Connecticut.
Pickens said the United States is using 25 percent of the world’s oil resources
though it has only 4 percent of the population.
Because there is a limited supply of oil, “we will be accused of being the ones
that run the oil price up,” Pickens said.
Using more natural gas and wind power instead of depending on foreign oil would
save more than $230 billion a year, he said.
Half that money that now goes to many countries that often oppose American
interests, Pickens said.
Pickens said that adopting his plan “will get us out of the trap that we’ve put
Since natural gas is about $1 per gallon cheaper than oil, Pickens said, it
makes sense to use America’s vast reserves.
“We need to use it,” Pickens said. “I want North American resources to stay in
A big part of the Texas billionaire’s plan is to use natural gas to power the
nation’s 7 million 18-wheeler trucks.
Pickens said he has met with many leading politicians, including President
Barack Obama, to talk about his plan.
He said their first choice for alternative energy would be to rely more heavily
However, Pickens said, batteries and most other options are not strong enough to
move a large truck.
Natural gas is the only resource besides oil that is capable of doing the job,
Pickens said he supports the idea of using batteries for “light duty” vehicles,
but he wants to use natural gas in heavy duty transportation.
Creating the infrastructure to allow wide use of natural gas for trucks is
Larson said that switching one 18-wheeler truck to natural gas is the equivalent
of switching about 320 cars.
A bill backed by Larson would increase the use of natural gas in heavy duty
vehicles by providing tax credits and incentives to people who buy them.
In five to seven years, Pickens said, the change would cut oil imports in half.
Both Pickens and Larson said the proposal would help the environment because
natural gas is somewhat cleaner burning than oil, which contributes to air
Larson said that preserving the environment is “a national security issue.”
Burning so much oil “has got to end,” Larson said.
The congressman said that making the necessary changes all cost money. He said
the nation has to choose whether to invest in America or to continue to send its
Pickens said he feels strongly about making sure that his plan actually happens.
“My mission is to get this done,” he said. “We will be successful. It will