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Even the environmentalistas found themselves on different sides of the arguments.

The Obama administration’s endorsement of high gas prices at the pump to drive all of us (pun intended) into nirvana through forced conservation was not exactly what was needed before the November election.

So now Mr. Pickens has jumped on the shale gas bandwagon.

He has recognized that with new technology, the U.S. may have more fossil fuel reserves than any other political entity. And, of course, gas meets some requirements (can anyone really satisfy all of them?) of environmental “constraints.”

So Mr. Pickens is now arguing — and this time he may be right — that switching truck and bus fleets to natural gas may not be all that expensive (with a little tax loophole here and there). And, he says, perhaps true, it would wipe out three-quarters of U.S. huge OPEC import bills in a decade or less.

Whether he has these figures any better arranged than his earlier wind-power arguments remains to be seen.

But with the “hidden” announcement that even the Obama administration finally is authorizing new Gulf of Mexico drilling, the Saudis obviously can’t take chances. So it is “Pump, habeebee, pump!” in Mecca-Jiddah.

Sol Sanders, a veteran international correspondent, writes weekly on the intersection of politics, business and economics. He can be reached at and blogs at