NPR logo Profile: The Pickens Plan

Profile: The Pickens Plan

T. Boone Pickens presents his plan for relying on renewable energy sources such as wind power on July 30, 2008 in Topeka, Kansas. Larry W. Smith/Getty Images hide caption

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Larry W. Smith/Getty Images

The Pickens Plan is a multi-million-dollar advocacy campaign run by Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens to reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil.

The plan calls for replacing oil imports with domestic energy by harnessing wind power for electricity and using natural gas as fuel for vehicles. Though Pickens wants the plan to be carried out by private industry, he is calling on the next president and Congress to help make it happen.

Pickens himself is building what would be the largest wind farm in the country. He also founded a company that describes itself as the "largest provider of vehicular natural gas" in North America.

But Pickens' newfound advocacy for renewable energy came as a surprise to many, since Pickens — a billionaire renowned for his hostile takeover bids of the 1980s — has been a top Republican donor and oilman for most of his adult life.

He gave $2.5 million to the Republican 527 organization, Progress for America, and $2 million more to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that helped to defeat Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 election.

This election cycle, he was a top fundraiser for former New York Mayor and Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. Pickens also has given $10 million to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Funders: T. Boone Pickens

Will Evans is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR's partner in the Secret Money Project.