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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

T. Boone Pickens presents plans to protect national security

T Boone Pickens

Billionaire energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens told campus and community members in a speech Friday that continuing to import upward of 65 percent of the country’s oil is among one of the United States’ greatest national security threats.

“We’re depending on oil from an enemy,” Pickens said. “We’re paying for both sides of the war.”

Pickens said his first and foremost priority is protecting the country’s national security, which came as a surprise to environmental activists attending the speech.

During the past year, his $58 million ad campaign has largely framed the issue of energy use in terms of environmental responsibility.

However, he said in the speech that he was open to drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge region, as well as in the waters off the coast of the U.S.

A green economy is the future, he said, but solar and wind technology still needed to catch up. Instead, he described natural gas as “a bridge fuel to the future.”

From the 81-year-old Pickens, the message to students was clear: “It’s your problem. It’s not my problem.”  

Pickens has lobbied lawmakers and built a support network of 1.6 million people while advocating his plan for energy reform during the past year.

He urged the students, faculty and state business leaders in attendance to get behind his plan.

“For 40 years we’ve had no energy plan in America,” he said. “None.”

During those years, he said, each president has promised to reduce dependency on foreign oil. In each case, he said, oil imports have continued to rise.

Between 1970 and today, Pickens said oil imports rose from 24 percent to more than 65 percent.

“I’m an environmentalist, but I’m realistic about it, too,” he said.

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