Shocker: T. Boone Pickens Is Acting In His Own Interest


Bloomberg has a2,800-word profile on the irrepresible T. Boone Pickens this morning that includes the unsurprising analysis that the Texas-oilman turned green-energy guru is acting partially out of self interest.

He has a 33 percent interest in Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NAS:CLNE), which runs 184 natural gas filling stations and would clean up if legislation that he supports passes. He also has a stake in V Vehicle Co. with Al Gore’s shop Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and 5 percent of Exco Resources Inc. (NYSE:XCO).

The Pickens Plan, to increase investment in natural gas and wind power, might actually benefit these investments, a think-tanker has discovered.

“The Pickens Plan is nothing more than a call to rig the market toward the fuels that Pickens has invested in,” says Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at Washington-based research group Cato Institute.

To which we respond: yeah, so?

Corporations have thrust their positions on climate change into the spotlight by fleeing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its opposition to proposed legislation and descending on Washington, D.C., to lobby key senators and cabinet members.

But they have also been acting in the interest of their shareholders by pushing for laws that will enrich the companies.

The Wall Street Journalmakes these interests clearthis morning, and nicely shows how they are creating fissures between the companies that will win if anything resembling the Waxman-Markey bill is passed and those who will not do so well. Exelon, in particular, could be a big winner because of the push by GOP Senators to make nuclear a bigger part of the Kerry-Boxer legislation.

The point of these bills, besides limiting global warming, is to unleash the forces of American capitalism on the problem. The companies that are best positioned to capture the incentives will win. Period.

Still, as the legislative process lurches forward on climate change bills, expect to see plenty more stories about how the bills’ biggest corporate supporters will also be the greatest beneficiaries. Then yawn.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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