Rob Bradley

Post image for Senate to Consider Pickens-Your-Pocket-Boonedoggle Bill

This afternoon the Senate will begin voting on highway bill amendments, which include the Burr/Menendez amendment, a.k.a. the New Alternative Transportation To Give America Solutions (NAT GAS) Act. Its chief lobbyist and beneficiary is billionaire T. Boone Pickens. If Congress were subject to truth in advertising laws, the amendment would be called the Pickens Payoff Plan or the Pickens-Your-Pocket-Boondoggle-Bill.

The Texas gas mogul’s lobbying for billions of dollars in tax credits for natural gas vehicles, fueling stations, and motor fuel is all about patriotism and energy security and has nothing to do with rent seeking or corporate welfare. Just ask him! “I’m sure not doing this for the money,” Pickens told the New York Times.

Only the Shadow knows what lurks in the minds of lobbyists, but the circumstantial evidence – Pickens’s huge investments in companies that would profit directly from Congress ramping up demand for natural gas vehicles, motor fuel, and infrastructure — is rather overwhelming. For some juicy details, see the commentary I posted on this site last year when the Boonedoggle Bill looked like it might actually go somewhere in the House.

None of this is to denigrate the potential of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Over the past few years, natural gas prices have fallen as petroleum prices have increased. Responding to this price disparity, GM and Chrysler plan to produce thousands of bi-fuel picks that can run on either natural gas or gasoline,  Rob Bradley points out today at MasterResource.Org. [click to continue…]