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An Oil Man Persuades the Masses: How Pickens plans to pressure Congress August 12, 2008

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Billionaire oil man T. Boone Pickens believes that he has a plan to decrease America’s dependence on fossil fuels all while decreasing harmful carbon emissions, and he has invested $58 million into a campaign to reach the masses.  His plan, as many have heard by now, is called The Pickens PlanIn a nutshell, Pickens wishes to use wind energy to replace 22 percent of the energy the United States uses to produce electricity.  In tackling the problem of oil used to power transportation, Pickens is advocating a switch to natural gas.  In addition to using his website to “educate” American citizens, Pickens is holding several town hall style meetings in the Midwest, lobbying Washington in front of a national audience, and building grassroots support for his fight by establishing online networks on sites like Facebook.  Those familiar with T. Boone’s controversial practices as an oil man have been skeptical of the campaign, but The Pickens Plan has certainly gained enormous support because of its strong effort to reach the public.

The following three clips are of T. Boone Pickens’ recent appearance on “Larry King Live.”

Since critics of the plan are just starting to come out, learn more about their position in the first half of the following clip:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why is T. Boone Pickens lobbying the American people instead of Congress?  In other words, what does he have to gain from building pressure on the government?

2.  Is Pickens selflessly trying to save America from foreign oil, or is there something in it for him and his investors?  That is, is there something that Pickens is not disclosing in his campaign?

3.  Pickens’ effort to build grassroots efforts for his plan on Facebook and Myspace seems like something that others in charge of PR may want to follow.  Are other organizations currently doing this?  If so, are their efforts successful?

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