"Who else is even running?" was the response from energy bigwig T. Boone Pickens when asked to explain his endorsement of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., R-Lafayette.

Pickens gave his endorsement of Boustany during a press conference Monday afternoon, which was fittingly held at the Apache Compressed Natural Gas Pump on Verot School Road.

"He's the only guy I even thought of supporting in Louisiana," says Pickens. "I've worked with Congressman Boustany for four terms, and I know what he can do."

                                                         T. Boone Pickens / Photo by Robin May

Pickens' nod of support comes at a good time for Boustany, whose main competition for the redrawn 3rd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia — a self-professed "true conservative" — attempts to peg the four-term congressman as belonging to the "Washington Establishment."

Pickens credits his endorsement of Boustany to the congressman's support of natural gas as the solution to the nation's foreign oil dependence. The problem, he says, pointing to failed legislation that would have subsidized natural gas conversions of diesel-fueled 18-wheelers, has been political resistance on Capitol Hill.

"It's definitely a quick payout to go natural gas, but so far we haven't gotten a whole helluva lot done," says Pickens. "That's not Charlies' fault though. It's just politics."

In a prepared statement released after Monday's press conference, Pickens touts Boustany as "Louisiana's leader in fighting for the oil and gas industry."

"His knowledge and dedication to ensuring the domestic production of oil and gas and protecting America's energy security are vital to Louisiana and the nation," Pickens says in the statement. "I am pleased to help Rep. Boustany and his re-election and I look forward to to continuing our work together."

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