A Legacy of T. Boone Pickens: Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 24, 2019 1 Comment

“Mr. Pickens was an early exponent of the peak oil theory, which held that the world would soon run out of oil to pump. The rise of fracking, which made hard-to-reach oil accessible, upended the theory.” (Washington Post, below)

“’It’s been valuable to have Boone as part of the team,’ said Carl Pope, who was executive director of the Sierra Club at the time, in response to the oilman’s backing of alternative energy sources. Former Vice President Al Gore also backed Mr. Pickens’s alternative energy campaign.” (New York Times, below)

Business leaders can help or hurt the capitalist system with their actions and rhetoric. Swashbuckling T. Boone Pickens (1928–2019) gained a reputation as a disrupter, shaking up a stodgy oil major (Gulf Oil, now part of Chevron), among others.

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T. Boone Picken’s Little Green Deal (remembering a stillborn crony scheme)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 19, 2019 4 Comments

Mr. Pickens’s original vision had something for everyone. First he would build a wind farm in Texas with 2,700 turbines costing upward of $10 billion. That would pump power into the national grid, allowing huge amounts of natural gas to be diverted from power plants to newly equipped cars and trucks. The result, he promised, would be a sharp reduction in the country’s dependence on Middle East crude.”

“‘This to me is like a war without guns,’ says Mr. Pickens….” 

– Neil King, Pickens’s Windmills Tilt Against Market Realities, Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2009.

A decade ago, a rent-seeking, vainglorious Texas oil man named T. Boone Pickens spent tens of millions of dollars to promote what today might be called the Little Green Deal. It was nicely summarized in the Wall Street Journal at the time by Neil King, Pickens’s Windmills Tilt Against Market Realities.

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Sierra Club Energy: Beyond Affordable

By Lance Brown -- September 12, 2012 4 Comments
The Sierra Club’s war on coal, since joined by its war on gas, is really a conflict against industrial progress. Reliable, affordable energy is a ‘commanding heights’ of the economy, and the enemy has wanted to take it ever since Paul Ehrlich et al. got going in the 1960s and 1970s.

The irony is that an honest Sierra Club executive back in the 1980s gave windpower its most infamous nickname, the Cuisinarts of the Air. Sierra Club members have resigned over the organization’s pro-wind policy, and grassroot environmentalists have tasted wind only to spit it out (here and here). And the Old Mare refuses to address devastating criticism about industrial wind, such as from Jon Boone here at MasterResource. [1]

Many examples of Sierra Club policy against environmentally superior dense energy can be chronicled.

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Towards a New Environmentalism (open criticism, midcourse correction, and scholarship needed)

By Steve Hayward -- July 27, 2011 6 Comments
MasterResource is home to a growing number of grassroot environmentalists who are challenging the Washington, D.C. establishment to reconsider industrial wind turbines. Jen Gilbert’s Dear Sierra Club (Canada): I Resign Over Your Anti-Environmental Wind Support and Jon Boone’s three-part The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method of what Robert Bradley has summarized in his post, Windpower: Environmentalists vs. Environmentalists (NIMBYism, precautionary principle vs. industrial wind)

My piece for National Review (reprinted below) looks at the bigger picture of how reasoned criticism and intellectual diversity have struggled to penetrate the environmental mainstream. The result of such intolerance has been Faustian bargains such as the Sierra Club going all-in for wind power (see their response to Robert Bryce’s recent op-edin the New York Times).

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The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method (Part III)

By Jon Boone -- April 19, 2010 9 Comments Continue Reading

The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method (Part II)

By Jon Boone -- April 18, 2010 5 Comments Continue Reading

The Sierra Club: How Support for Industrial Wind Technology Subverts Its History, Betrays Its Mission, and Erodes Commitment to the Scientific Method (Part I)

By Jon Boone -- April 17, 2010 16 Comments Continue Reading

1Q–2012 Activity Report: MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 13, 2012 2 Comments Continue Reading