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CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI’s fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI’s weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week. To sign up for CEI Weekly, go to http://cei.org/newsletters.

March 16, 2012

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FEATURE: Senate Votes No on Pickens Payout

Natural gas mogul T. Boone Pickens is already a billionaire, but that hasn’t stopped him from lobbying Congress for handouts. This week, the Senate rejected  an amendment that would have subsidized natural gas vehicles and fueling stations. CEI’s Center for Energy and the Environment has long worked to expose the “Pickens Plan” as the corporate welfare that it is. See the GlobalWarming.org posts below, and listen to the podcast (right) for more information. [click to continue…]

Have a listen here.

The Senate this week voted down a highway bill amendment that would massively financially benefit natural gas mogul T. Boone Pickens. Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis explains why the Senate did the right thing, and why Washington shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace.

CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI’s fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI’s weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week. To sign up for CEI Weekly, go to http://cei.org/newsletters.

CEI Weekly

February 3, 2012

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In 2011, CEI labor policy analysts created the Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index to measure the influence of union lobbyists on state governments. The purpose of the Index was to educate lawmakers and taxpayers about union handouts at the state level. Now, in early 2012, the Index is certainly making a difference: Oklahoma Senator David Holt is introducing legislation to empower Oklahoma taxpayers, citing his state’s poor ranking on CEI’s Index. Read Research Associate Jack Mann’s OpenMarket commentary on Sen. Holt’s announcement for more details.

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CEI Weekly is a compilation of articles and blog posts from CEI’s fellows and associates sent out via e-mail every Friday. Also included in the weekly newsletter is a brief description of CEI’s weekly podcast and a feature on a major CEI breakthrough made during the week. To sign up for CEI Weekly, go to http://cei.org/newsletters.

CEI Weekly
May 20, 2011

>>Featured Story

On Saturday’s Washington Journal, Myron Ebell and Bill Snape had a combative back-and-forth about the costs and benefits of the Endangered Species Act. Mr. Snape argued that more species should be added to the endangered list; while Myron countered that the Act has largely become a legal tool to block projects that are unpopular with certain environmental groups. The two experts also took several questions from callers. Watch the full segment here.

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Tech:

Scientists Cast Doubt on TSA Tests of Full-Body Scanners:
“The Transportation Security Administration says its full-body X-ray scanners are safe and that radiation from a scan is equivalent to what’s received in about two minutes of flying. The company that makes them says it’s safer than eating a banana [1].”

Global Warming / Environment / Energy:

Pickens’ New Plan: No Wind:
“T. Boone Pickens has a new plan — but fewer allies — in his quest to curb America’s dependency on foreign oil.”

LED bulbs hit 100 watts as federal ban looms:
“Two leading makers of lighting products are showcasing LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace energy-guzzling 100-watt light bulbs set to disappear from stores in January.”

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Detractors of capitalism decry that it caters to special interests. The opposite is actually true. Just look at what’s happened in the last year.

Most of Wall Street came to government asking for a bailout when the government-created housing bubble popped.

The Big Three automakers also went to Washington for largesse when their customers came to prefer Toyotas and Hondas.

Health insurance companies stand to make a killing if Obamacare passes.

T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore would make millions from environmental legislation.

Ludwig von Mises explained the reason for all of this corrupt behavior with a single sentence back in 1949: “It is precisely the fact that the market does not respect vested interests that makes the people concerned ask for government interference.”
-Human Action, 4th Edition, p. 337.

Why is the Chicago Tribune again allowing its editorial page to shill for T Boone Pickens? For the second time in 5 months, the Tribune has published a self-serving opinion piece by Mr. Pickens (Our Energy Future, 16 November 2008; Solving Our Nation’s Energy Predicament, 24 February 2009).

Remove the rhetoric, and T Boone’s plan is quite simple. He wants the government to (1) force taxpayers to subsidize his wind power; (2) force taxpayers to pay for the transmission lines to deliver his wind power; (3) force consumers to buy his wind power; (4) force consumers to buy T Boone’s natural gas “saved” by using  his wind power to power their cars.

America gets expensive energy and T Boone Pickens gets rich. As CEI’s Marlo Lewis artfully put it: “This T Boone-doggle Pickens your pocket.”

Great result in California, where the voters figured out the plan by T Boone Pickens and his cronies at Chesapeake Energy to force people to buy their products. This despite the fact that Proposition 10 had been portrayed as “green” in a multimillion dollar propaganda campaign. Kudos to the environmental groups who opposed the swindle, thereby for once failing to play the Baptist to Pickens’ bootlegger. The Proposition failed by 5.5 million votes to 3.7 million.

In a follow-up to his column last week on the subsidies T. Boone Pickens is now seeking for his wind farm venture, former CEI Brookes Fellow Tim Carney looks at a related Pickens enterprise: a water extraction and pipeline project.

Amid all the hype Pickens’ windmill plan has gotten, the interesting part — the water part — has been mostly ignored, except for an excellent Business Week story by Susan Berfield and a column by Steve Milloy.

Roberts County, Texas, sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer, a huge underground reservoir that stretches all the way to South Dakota. It’s in Roberts County that T. Boone Pickens set aside eight acres from his ranch for drilling deep into the aquifer.

Then he turned this parcel into a town, basically, with only two eligible voters — both of whom were his employees. (This required a change in Texas law in 2007 — a change facilitated no doubt by his $1.2 million in campaign contributions to Texas legislators in 2006).
Then there was an election in this district, in which both voters voted to make this 8-acre municipality a special fresh-water district.

Pickens’ wholly owned government entity now can issue tax-free bonds (meaning he can borrow at a serious discount) and use the power of eminent domain to pressure landowners to sell — or to take their land if they hold out. The eminent domain power is key to building the pipeline that will run this water down to the Dallas area, where Pickens hopes to sell the water. If your land lies in the path of his proposed pipeline, you got a letter explaining that T. Boone wants to buy a stretch of your land — and explaining that he can use eminent domain if you resist. If this begins to sound too cutthroat to the public, Pickens just reminds journalists and politicians that following this water pipeline will be the transmission cables for Pickens’ mammoth wind farm.

Are you really going to side with some greedy holdout ranchers over the future of green power? Sure enough, the Sierra Club is now rallying behind this whole scheme.

Watch “for the Earth” replace “for the children” as the leading shrill plaintive call from those wanting to raid the government till.

In his latest Washington Examiner column, former CEI Brookes Fellow Tim Carney takes on T. Boone Pickens’s call for policies promoting wind and other “renewable” energy sources.

Would a major newspaper editorialize with surprise that “even Kraft Foods says we need to eat more macaroni and cheese”? Would guests on The McLaughlin Group get away with saying that “even Budweiser is lobbying for more beer consumption”?

Then why do talking heads and journalists exclaim with surprise that “even T. Boone Pickens,” is lobbying for greater U.S. reliance on wind power? Don’t they know he owns the largest wind farm in the world?

As Tim notes, it may be that “for the environment” may have become as much of a trump as the now-insufferable mantra “for the children.”

Because Pickens has announced his gambit in the name of the environment, the media has dropped the skepticism it usually applies to the claims of businessmen trying to make a buck. Because his plan involves government—meaning you and I pay the costs—that skepticism ought to be even greater.

Well said. Full column here.