We've been wondering to ourselves over the last month or so, why has oil-baron-turned-environmentalist T. Boone Pickens been pimping his wind farm idea so hard, even including direct ads to the US public? It's just a bunch of big-ass windmills after all; it's not like rocket science. It had to be, we thought, that he wanted tax breaks or green incentives to help defray the cost. Well, that may be the case, but a second, less-publicized motivation has emerged other than getting us off of foreign oil (and by foreign we mean mostly Canadian). The DC Examiner dug in and found out it's not just electricity T. Boone is after: It's the water in them thar hills.The story reads like the secret behind a brilliant magician's sleight-of-hand trick, with Thomas Boone pulling the strings of government, politics, environmental activists, and public relations. Mr. Pickens has been a busy boy lately — over the last few years, he's purchased large tracts of land in northern Texas, planned for his massive wind farm. As that purchase was underway, Pickens allegedly used about 1.2 million dollars worth of 2006 campaign contributions to motivate the wheels of government to allow his little investment to become a town; a town with two employees as residents. Those two employees voted unanimously to create a fresh water district within the town limits, a district which is perched above the United States' largest fresh water aquifer, the Ogallala. In Texas, if you can drill it, you can pump it, and water is no exception. Using the power of eminent domain (with his little town) Pickens is attempting to leverage land enough to build a water pipeline all the way to Dallas, and following that, the power lines from his wind farm. It's a hard proposition to stand on when you're a rancher refusing the allow an ambitious green project to move forward. Even the Sierra Club is backing Pickens' project. Nobody here is saying this is somehow unethical or an example of corporate dirty tricks; actually, it's quite the opposite. We don't know which is worth more, the wind above Roberts County, Texas, or the water below it, but you have to give Pickens credit for a brilliant plan. Sell 'em on one project and make two out of it. So you may be filling up your electric car on Pickens-power eventually, but you might also be sipping his water too. [DC Examiner] Photo credit here
@Pete Gaines: speaking of OSU, Mr. Pickens and eminent domain, he donated a crapload of cash to OSU who promptly annexed several acres around the campus to build an "athletic village". Great, right?
The only problem is that land was full of off-campus housing in the form of rent houses owned by locals, who were pretty much ripped off with little or no recourse.
He's no philanthropist.