Mitt Romney’s new energy plan amounts to “drill, baby drill” on America’s public lands and shores. His vision for energy follows that of his oil donors and chief energy adviser, shale oil baron Harold Hamm. Meanwhile, it neglects other sources of American energy, especially the growing wind and solar industries: The League of Conservation Voters counted Romney’s plan includes 154 mentions of oil, but just 24 mentions of wind and solar, 9 of them negative.
On Thursday, appearing on Morning Joe, billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens criticized Romney’s sharp focus on an oil-above-all strategy, at a time when the industry has never been better:
They missed the mark. All they talk about is oil. Oil, drill off the East Coast, West Coast, federal lands, everything [...] But our industry, in America, has done a fabulous job. I mean, we’re number three in the world on oil production: Saudi Arabia, Russia, United States. And here we are, our industry’s has done a fabulous job. And they don’t mention natural gas, in the whole release, it’s all about oil.
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Pickens, unhappy the Romney camp overlooks the country’s natural gas boom, pointed out that the oil industry is doing very well for itself. In 2011, five oil companies alone netted a record-breaking $137 billion profit. This year, domestic oil production reached its highest level in eight years, and imports have fallen to under 50 percent.
Romney’s single-minded focus on oil highlights his ties to oil billionaires like the Koch brothers, who are personally spending over $60 million on Romney’s behalf. Pickens, who has fueded with the Kochs before, called Koch Industries the “biggest deterrent to an energy plan in America.” The plan could deliver huge benefits to Hamm too, who is Romney’s chief energy adviser, his major super PAC donor, and worth billions from drilling in North Dakota.