The energy initiatives described in the President's annual address to Congress include incentives to move America's transportation sector to natural gas and away from imported petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel. In his plan, Pickens has pushed for greater use of natural gas in transportation on the ground that continued dependence on imported oil is "a grave threat to America's national and economic security."
As Pickens points out, the President's "initiative" in this area is not exactly new. Legislation to provide incentives to move the nation's transportation sector to natural gas has widespread bipartisan support in Congress, with more than 180 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. A similar bill in the Senate also has strong bipartisan support.
Regina Hopper, President and Chief Executive Officer of America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), also praised the President's emphasis on natural gas as a solution to both environmental and national security concerns. "We agree with the resident that American natural gas can play a pivotal role in our national security and in our economy," she said. "For this reason it is a fuel that has great bipartisan appeal. Using American natural gas to meet more of our transportation needs makes us less reliant on countries that do not have our best interests in mind."
President Obama also called for a dramatic increase in the use of wind, solar and other renewables to generate electricity. Wind and solar are also key pillars of The Pickens Plan that the energy executive announced in 2008.
"I've accomplished my goal of achieving legislation and proposed policies to help solve the OPEC oil crisis," Pickens said. "The ball's now in Washington's court. What we need is leadership. Despite the political partisanship that divides Washington, I am hopeful and confident Congress will put America's best energy future first."
John J.P. Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey