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Oilman, wind power backer Pickens coming to Bismarck

BISMARCK -- Legendary Texas oilman and recent wind energy convert T. Boone Pickens is coming to Bismarck. Pickens has been the hot topic the past month in national energy talk since announcing his "Pickens Plan," which calls for putting trillions...

BISMARCK -- Legendary Texas oilman and recent wind energy convert T. Boone Pickens is coming to Bismarck.

Pickens has been the hot topic the past month in national energy talk since announcing his "Pickens Plan," which calls for putting trillions of dollars into wind energy turbines and transmission in the Great Plains.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., announced today that Pickens will be keynote speaker for the Great Plains Energy Expo and Showcase in Bismarck Nov. 10-11.

Pickens is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10.

"T. Boone Pickens is a well-known advocate when it comes to promoting ways to make America energy independent," Dorgan said.

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The second annual expo is sponsored by Dorgan, Bismarck State College and the Bismarck engineering firm Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson.

Pickens' plan involves building wind facilities in the Great Plains corridor from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.

"That's a lot of money, but it's a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it's a bargain," according to www.pickensplan.com .

Pickens, 80, is founder and chairman of energy hedge fund BP Capital Management and made his name as founder of Mesa Petroleum, an independent oil operator.

Pickens says the U.S. should use the Plains' wind power to replace natural gas currently used to produce 22 percent of the nation's electricity. Pickens says that will make natural gas available as a transportation fuel, reducing the dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third within 10 years.

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