A spokesman for libertarian philanthropists David and Charles Koch fired back at billionaire gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who recently said, "The biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America is Koch Industries."
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Philip Ellender, president & COO of Koch Companies Public Sector, said Pickens’ criticism was motivated by his substantial investments in natural gas companies that would benefit substantially from legislation—the NAT GAS Act—that the Koch oppose.
Mr. Pickens has stated that he is standing up for the American people by lobbying Congress for the passage of the NAT GAS Act. However, as The Atlantic reported, the NAT GAS Act is a scheme to get tax breaks from the government – in the form of another government subsidy – in order to increase the number of natural gas-powered tractor-trailers and heavy trucks on U.S. roads. What's less well known is that Mr. Pickens is the major shareholder in BAF Technologies, self-described as "the leading provider of natural gas vehicle systems and conversions in the U.S.
Mr. Pickens is a savvy investor and we respect his experience in the energy industry. He understands the laws of supply and demand – that when demand for natural gas vehicles goes up, so will natural gas prices, and that price hike will benefit his substantial investments in natural gas markets and related businesses. If enacted, Mr. Pickens stands to benefit richly from the NAT GAS legislation at the expense of American taxpayers.
Overregulation, subsidies, and cronyism distort the marketplace and result in higher energy prices for every American. We do not believe government should be picking winners and losers in the marketplace based on the industries or products it chooses to subsidize. Government has a terrible record in doing so – both here and abroad…
Pickens has contributed nearly half a million dollars to the Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank that frequently attacks the Koch brothers and supports the NAT GAS Act.
"This is additional proof that Mr. Pickens' position is nothing more than cynical cronyism that is totally contrary to free-market principles.," Ellender wrote.