NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - Dallas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens received the 2009 Texan of the Year award Thursday night, recognized in part for an alternative energy plan that Gov. Rick Perry said "could change the world forever."
"He's a Texas legend of almost untold stature," Perry said in presenting the award to Pickens during the 43rd annual Texas Legislative Conference.
"The energy plan he laid out ... could change the world forever. That's the type of vision, that's the type of innovation, that's the type of leader that the world needs now," Perry said.
Pickens was recognized for his ongoing campaign to promote alternative energy sources as well as his vast contributions to charitable causes both in Texas and around the country, said Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce President Michael Meek.
The annual award is given to an individual who has most contributed to the progress of Texas, Meek said.
Pickens' plan, released in July, calls for offsetting half of the nation's foreign oil demand with natural gas and wind energy, a task he contends could be accomplished within 10 years, given the right subsidies.
Pickens said Thursday that for 40 years he watched presidential candidates make promises to become oil independent but that none had laid out a plan.
"My dad said a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan," Pickens said in a story for Friday's editions of The Herald-Zeitung.
"We are importing now almost 70 percent, and a great part of that is coming from people that hate us. Purchasing oil from international enemies has driven the credibility of the U.S. down," he said. "We need to be independent of foreign oil."
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