July 30, 2008

California Taxpayers May Pay For Pickens Plan?

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times by eco-sustainability consultant Anthony Rubenstein, if Proposition 10 is passed in California's November ballot California taxpayers will:

Squander at least $9.8 billion in taxpayer money on Pickens' self-serving natural gas agenda.

Mr. Rubenstein admits he is not entirely impartial in this matter, claiming that Proposition 10 is entitled "The California Renewable Energy and Clean Alternative Fuel Act." in order to mislead voters that it is similar to the "California Clean Alternative Energy Act" of 2006 which was sponsored by Mr. Rubenstein himself. However, Proposition 10 is sponsored by Clean Energy Fuels Corp., a natural gas filling station company owned by Mr. Pickens.

Amongst a number of criticisms levelled at the Proposition, possibly the most damning is that:

Most insidiously, Proposition 10's lavish rebates for natural gas-powered cars and trucks could crowd out superior technologies from taking root in California, the largest transportation market in the United States.

Despite all this it seems as if Mr. Rubenstein respects T. Boone Pickens, and maybe even quite likes him. He concludes his article by saying:

I've met Pickens, and I'll vouch for his patriotic intentions to get the U.S. off of foreign oil — but not for funding his interests on the sly with billions of dollars from California's taxpayers. In fact, I'd prefer to believe that he's being ill-served by his lawyers and political consultants, because it's clear that the shortcomings of Proposition 10 could ultimately hurt his energy independence message.

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