T. Boone Pickens continues his bad energy news tour, wants to be a player in the fall election

Andrew Littlefair (left) and T. Boone Pickens in Las Vegas in May

There was a lot of interest in my post about oil (and wind and natural gas) man T. Boone Pickens' presentation at the AFVI Expo last month. So, when I saw a new press release titled, "Boone Pickens: U.S. in Energy Crisis," I figured there was good reason to read it and maybe write about it. Turns out, yeah, there was.

Pickens wasn't exactly upbeat about the U.S. energy situation last month, and when he gave a speech to the Oil and Gas Investor's Energy Capital Forum in Houston earlier this week, he said the situation was at crisis level. It's so bad that it should be the most important issue of this fall's (and summer's) presidential campaign, he said. Pickens, who supports Republican candidate John McCain over Barack Obama (but acknowledged that McCain's whole summer gas tax holiday idea was wrong), said he's going to use his clout to "force this [a discussion on energy] into this campaign. We'll see if I have the credibility to force it into the debate." One way is by spending some of his billions on running energy issues ads on TV in the coming months.

There are some choice Pickens quotes in the release pasted after the break. Basically, Pickens believes, high gas prices are a good thing, as they're finally forcing people to change their mindset. Click through for more.

Press Release:

Boone Pickens: U.S. in Energy Crisis

HOUSTON, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens says energy is in a crisis in the U.S. and should be the No. 1 campaign issue for the presidential candidates. Pickens spoke at Oil and Gas Investor's Energy Capital Forum in Houston Tuesday.

"Energy is not a debate; it's a crisis for this country," Pickens said. "We cannot continue down the path were on. It's that desperate."

The 80-year-old former owner of Mesa Petroleum, which he sold in the mid-1990s, said the U.S. currently pays out $700 billion per year on oil imports and will increase to $10 trillion annually within 10 years if the pattern continues.

The energy crisis is a result of decades of lack of leadership that has led to a breakdown. Now, "somebody has to show up to fix it." He doubts the candidates understand the urgency of the circumstances.

Pickens chided Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama for "throwing around the windfall profits tax like a piece of balsa wood.

"I don't think the senator knows anything about energy. He sounds good for about two minutes."

Republican candidate Sen. John McCain received little more support. "I don't know how much he knows either. He wants to lower the gas tax during the summer. What the hell is he talking about? Will that fix anything?"

Pickens said he is not impressed by either candidate on energy issues and plans to elevate the issue into this year's presidential election campaign through a series of television ads talking about energy.

"I'm going to force this into this campaign. We'll see if I have the credibility to force it into the debate."

The price of oil is more likely to reach $150 per barrel before it reaches $120, he said, and believes that is a necessary event to force a change in thinking in the American mindset. "The more gas goes down the more you send a signal that there's enough and to buy more. It would be better for the country if the price goes up."

Americans must experience an attitude change to give everything a chance. He said there is "no question" that America must embrace alternate energy sources to alleviate the $700-billion transfer of wealth out of the country to oil imports.

"People are going to start to come to grips with change. This country is not going to go to its knees and get screwed in a bad deal," referring to oil imports.

Ethanol is "an ugly baby but it's ours and it will move cars," he said, emphasizing that he prefers the less-than-perfect fuel over imported oil. Biofuels, however, will never account for more than 10% of the U.S.' energy needs, he predicts.

For expanded coverage of T. Boone Pickens at Oil and Gas Investor's Energy Capital Forum, visit http://www.oilandgasinvestor.com/.

Headquartered in Houston, Hart Energy Publishing's market-leading publications include Oil and Gas Investor, E&P, PipeLine and Gas Technology and FUEL. Hart also produces newsletters, conferences, electronic media, and consulting services.

[Source: Hart Energy Publishing]

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