Texas Billionaire Criticizes Obama, Koch Industries Over Energy Issues

T. Boone Pickens, the energy billionaire who has invested heavily in wind, solar and natural gas projects, has criticized President Obama for not having an energy plan. He hinted that he is likely to back Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

"I will support the one that has the energy plan for America," Pickens told Fox News on Sunday. "I think that Romney will show up with the plan is what I think; I have seen Obama, I have heard what he says, but he never has a plan, he has never come forward with a plan for energy for America."

Pickens' announcement may not be a big surprise given the fact he has never supported a Democratic presidential candidate. In 2004, he gave large sums of money to what became known as the "Swift Boat" campaign that targeted Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic nominee who ran against President Bush.

However, in recent years the Texas billionaire introduced what he called the "Pickens Plan" and has worked with leading Democrats to craft legislation that would provide billions of dollars in tax credits to companies that convert large gasoline powered trucks over to natural gas as a way to curb demand for diesel fuel.

Pickens also claims he has lost over $150 million investing on solar power.

He said he had high hopes for Obama during his campaign for the White House in 2008 when he said America should increase its energy independence by increasing fuel economy standards and plug-in hybrid cars.

Still, Pickens' enthusiasm for Romney did not seem high enough to come with a full endorsement of the presumed GOP candidate.

"Romney has the kind of the skeleton of a plan, but I haven't heard his plan yet either, but this is an opportunity for us to rebuild our economy off the back of cheap energy," said Pickens.

While the Romney campaign has not put forth a detailed energy plan that covers the issues Pickens is most interested in, they have indicated Romney would roll back what he has called "excessive" regulations put in place under the Obama administration.

When it comes to green energy, the White House has been slow to act on plans to fund research on alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Romney has yet to put forth any specifics on alternative sources either.

But Pickens also took aim at private sector and lobbying firms for working to defeat a natural gas tax credit proposal put forth by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) that failed to garner enough votes in the upper chamber in March.

Pickens blames Kansas-based Koch Industries, along with Washington based groups Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation for launching campaigns opposing the plan, saying that extending tax credits for natural gas conversion would in essence be meddling with energy markets.

"They do not want to see the price of natural gas go up because they are in the fertilizer and chemical business," Pickens explained.

If passed, what was referred to as the NAT Gas Act would have provided tax credits that would have been paid for by a new user fee on the sale of liquefied and compressed natural gas that is used as vehicle fuel.

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