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Three Questions For Romney’s Energy Adviser Harold Hamm

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"Three Questions For Romney’s Energy Adviser Harold Hamm"

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On Thursday, oil baron Harold Hamm will testify to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the unrealistic promise that the U.S. can drill its way to energy independence. As chief architect of Romney’s energy plan, Hamm will echo its pro-oil tenets.

Hamm is CEO of Continental Resources, the company with the largest holdings in the Bakken oil and gas boom and his policy positions are, of course, firmly for maximizing drilling.

As lawmakers discuss the prudence of the GOP’s “Drill Baby Drill” energy plan, here are three essential questions that Hamm should answer at Thursday’s hearing:

How does the Romney/Ryan energy plan apply to national parks, and do you support the idea of throwing out federal safeguards for drilling in national parks that belong to all Americans?

The Romney energy plan proposes turning energy development on public lands over to the states, but it includes no details about which public lands would be included and how such a policy would work. In fact a recent trade organization, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, said that working under various state regulations could cause operators to “tear their hair out” and that it was “a little bit of populist raw meat.” The Center for American Progress just released a map of 30 national park units with non-federal mineral rights that could face future drilling, including the Flight 93 National Memorial, Everglades National Park, and Grand Teton National Park.

In his hearing testimony, Hamm supports opening federal lands and offshore areas for drilling, but claims it “would impact my company very little” because “we mainly work on private lands.” But Hamm holds a number of permits to drill on public lands, including recent permits for Montana and North Dakota. Romney’s plan would likely boost Hamm’s profits, but potentially at the risk of Americans’ national parks.

How does clean energy and fuel efficiency fit into a plan for energy independence, since a realistic plan must include lower oil consumption?

There are two parts of the equation to energy independence — energy production and consumption. But oil executives and some Republicans ignore initiatives that lower foreign oil consumption, like leaps in the production of clean energy and the Obama administration’s fuel efficiency standards.

Interestingly, Brad Plumer of the Wonk Blog points out that Romney’s plan relies on a CitiGroup report that cites fuel economy standards “as a major reason why America is now lurching toward energy independence.” However, Romney wants to roll back these initiatives, even though they are the only true solution for protecting consumers from oil price shocks, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Why do you call oil safety regulations unnecessary and burdensome when your company is guilty of drilling violations?

Hamm’s company Continental Resources has been fined for a number of violations in 2011: In several incidents, it’s been fined for improperly dumping oil and toxics into the air, soil and water. And even worse, neither Romney or Hamm show an interest in accounting for the risks to our climate posed by unchecked fossil fuel production.

Hamm is a critic of the Obama administration’s energy policy, calling it “one of scarcity” — even though the oil industry has reached the highest level of production in eight years.

Hamm is not only Romney’s policy adviser, but also a $1.2 million donor to Republicans and Romney’s super PAC. He has also been vocal about tax credits for oil, which Romney would protect by offering billions more in tax breaks for the top five oil corporations.

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9 Responses to Three Questions For Romney’s Energy Adviser Harold Hamm

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    All you have to do is look at that photo. Hamm is just another fat cat, and what little intelligence he possesses has been trained to deflect actual inquiries about facts.

    • BunnySlippers says:

      Wow, Mike that’s insightful commentary. He’s a stupid billionaire who employs hundreds of people and you’re a poor troll.

      I would point out the increase in oil and gas production has come from privately-owned lands and that production from federal lands has declined under the Obama Administration. And those spills are minor work-site accidents. This is not an irresponsible company, despite what the author wants to imply.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Well said, Bunny. A little more ingratiating groveling and maybe the rich man, whose wealth comes from exploitation and destruction, might deign to ‘trickle down’ on you.

    • AA says:

      How does the man’s appearance have anything to do with anything?

      C’mon man, you can do better.

  2. Church State says:

    The state of Utah (state headquarters of the LDS/Mormon Church and host state of Romney’s 2002 Winter Olympics), has an aspiration to become the next Energy Capital/Headquarters of the United States (oil, gas, coal, wind, etc.) – probably by 2020. This will not be possible unless Utah Senator Orin Hatch, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and other LDS faithful lawmakers have the advantage of re-writting all the federal rules in favor of making this dream come true. A sample of what this energy related future may bring is Utah house bill HB 148 passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed by Governor Gary R. Herbert. HB 148 is Utah’s latest attempt to take control of Utah’s federal lands. This and other similar future movements will all be made possible through the work of Utah Senator Orin Hatch (a pioneer of states rights) and other LDS faithful lawmakers, (also talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck), and their big never ending push for states rights. I personally find the dream plan quite disturbing and I am not really sure Mitt Romney has mine or your best interests in mind.

  3. johnny says:

    Good article, and excellent points. I think another great question would be to ask him to be very specific about how we’re going to become energy independent, since these guys love to throw that around, but the numbers don’t add up. The Bakken is the biggest shale play by far, but it’s not going to get us anywhere near independence. So, where’s the rest of the oil going to come from? Basic math, so let’s do it. Everything else is just hot air.

    And yeah, conservation is key. But, I think people are going to have to figure that out the hard way.

  4. John McCormick says:

    One of Mitt Romney’s advisers thinks a tax rate of about 2 percent is just a little too damn high.

    Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources, asked lawmakers to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies in place during a hearing Thursday. Romney’s chief energy adviser claimed that his company pays taxes at a rate of about 38 percent. The only problem: Continental Resources’ effective tax rate has been more like 2.2 percent over the past five years, according to an analysis from the left-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice

    This dog has fleas.