Foes agree on unlikely issues
Move over and make room, Al Gore.
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens of Amarillo, one of the world's more successful oilmen, is now spending a sizable chunk of money not only constructing an electricity-producing wind farm, but appearing in TV ads he's sponsoring saying that it's a critical matter of national security.
Not only does 70 percent of the oil consumed in the United States come from foreign countries, Pickens says, but the country sends $700 billion a year to pay for it. Pickens says this country must switch to wind and solar power over the next decade.
"I've been an oilman my whole life," Pickens, who is 80, says in the ad. "But this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of."
Next thing you know, you'll hear the polar ice caps are melting.
This is the same T. Boone Pickens that four years ago kicked in $3 million to help pay for the Swift Boat advertising campaign that savaged decorated Vietnam vet John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee that year.
"The goal is to have a greater impact than Al Gore has had on global warming," Jay Rosser, a spokesman for Pickens, told The Huffington Post. "He envisions an aggressive campaign to make this the No. 1 public policy issue in America and drive to real measurable change."
And not to be left out, state Rep. Rick Noriega, D-Houston, the Democrats' nominee to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, was making the rounds in Dallas, San Antonio and elsewhere pushing to have Texas commit to getting all its household electricity from renewable resources by 2019.
That's why it's critical to have transmission lines capable of carrying that load, Noriega said. Texas is big in wind energy, "but it doesn't matter how much wind or solar energy you generate if you can't get that power to the people who need it."
The "100 percent in 10" is an ambitious plan, Noriega acknowledged. "But we're at a tipping point and we must show strong leadership."
Noriega, for what it's worth, differs from some environmentally oriented folks in backing the lifting of a federal ban on offshore drilling in federal waters. But he stands firm against drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
His opponent, Cornyn, while saying he endorses conservation, nonetheless favors drilling in the Alaska refuge, and in oil shale fields in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
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The Guv and Ethanol. . . . Gov. Rick Perry winds up in line with environmentalists who think the feds should cut back on the required percentage of ethanol that goes into gasoline.
The environmental forces think that should happen partly because it takes more energy to make ethanol from corn than it produces.
Perry campaign reports show that Bo Pilgrim, the East Texas chicken magnate who has been a sizable donor to Perry's political fortunes, kicked in more than $9,000 to fly Perry and some staff members to the nation's capital in June, plus $25,000 to the guv's political committee a few weeks later.
That's not chicken feed, but Pilgrim's interest in the issue appears to be exactly that. As a chicken producer, he'd be much better off if corn prices drop and he can return to feeding his fowls more cheaply.
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The Reverends Are Righteous. . . . This climate crisis has even got the liberal African American preacher Al Sharpton and the ultraconservative white evangelist Pat Robertson agreeing on something.
While they disagree on just about everything else, the pair say in a TV ad produced by wecansolveit.org, they agree that the world's climate problems need huge attention from everybody.
Contact McNeely at dmcneely@austin. rr.com or 512/458-2963.