Pickens Praises Candidates for Embracing U.S. Oil in Debate

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Energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens had praise for both President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney following what he called a "spirited debate" about U.S. energy policy on Tuesday night. Here are the details.

* According to Pickens, Romney demonstrated a deeper understanding of energy by stating that replacing imported oil with domestic fuels would create jobs and improve the economy. Romney also scored points with Pickens by calling for a North American Energy Alliance.

* Romney's energy plan calls for a North American Energy Partnership which features full approval of the Keystone XL pipeline; an established agreement to facilitate cross-border energy investment, infrastructure and sales; regulatory cooperation between governments including a forum for sharing best practices and technologies; and a fast-track regulatory approval process for cross-border pipelines and other infrastructure.

* Pickens also stated that he liked that President Obama highlighted the importance of renewable energy but said he thought Obama oversold what renewables would do to decrease the OPEC oil threat.

* "Two-thirds of our oil use is tied to transportation, and wind and solar are power generation fuels," Pickens stated. "They won't move 18-wheelers. They are an important part of the future, but we need a bridge to get us there by reducing oil imports now."

* Obama's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future calls for a goal of meeting 80 percent of the U.S. electricity needs from clean energy sources including wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal. The plan also calls for increased fuel standard efficiency as well as conversion to alternative fuels and investment in hybrid and electric vehicle technologies.

* Pickens stated that the final debate between the two candidates will be held on Oct. 22 and will focus on foreign policy. "I am hopeful the two candidates will connect the dots and reinforce for the American public how closely our foreign and military policies and presence are tied to our Middle East oil dependence," Pickens said.

* Pickens released his plan for ending U.S. dependence on OPEC oil in 2008. According to Pickens, the country spent $150 billion to import over 1.5 billion barrels of OPEC oil in 2011 and is set to spend $2 trillion on imported oil over the next 10 years.

* Pickens' plan calls for natural gas to replace imported oil as a transportation fuel, electrical transmission grid upgrades, further development of renewable energy sources and incentives for homeowners and owners of commercial buildings to upgrade insulation and increase efficiency.

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