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March 06, 2012

Mitt Makes It Official: He's with Big Oil

Oil moneyWe already knew that Mitt Romney’s campaign was being supported by millions and millions of dollars from oil and gas companies. We already knew his stump speeches and debate appearances were full of reckless pandering and desperate sales pitches to win over big polluting billionaire campaign donors. But now, Romney’s gone one giant leap further in putting the agenda of big oil ahead of the needs of American families: he’s actually hand-picked one of the country’s biggest oil executives to be his campaign’s chief advisor on energy policy.

He might as well put an arsonist in charge of the fire department.

Last week, Romney announced that oil billionaire Harold Hamm would lead his campaign’s energy team.  One of the richest people in America, Hamm is the CEO of Continental Resources - an oil and gas company that relies on fracking and extensive drilling, dubbing itself as “America’s oil champion.” 

When Continental is not busy spilling oil into North Dakota’s water, Hamm spends his time attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, arguing against the basic protections that keep our air and water clean, and shilling for big oil’s favorite pet project, the dangerous, dirty Keystone XL pipeline.

Of course, Romney’s been parroting Big Oil even before Hamm joined his campaign. He’s bemoaned the EPA’s safeguards against life-threatening pollution as “out of control,” even suggesting we’d be better off under the ineffective EPA of the George W. Bush administration. He’s consistently pushed for more drilling and mining in our wild lands.  And, he’s rejected job-creating fuel efficiency standards and life-saving public health safeguards.

By cuddling up to Hamm, any lingering questions about Romney’s intentions are answered: he’d put the job of crafting energy and environmental policy directly in the hands of oil executives.

Don’t believe it? Take a look at what Romney wrote just days after bringing Hamm on board. In an editorial written for the Columbus Dispatch, Romney lays out his so-called energy policy – and it just happens to be the fulfillment of big oil’s wildest dreams.  Paying lip service to jobs while proposing pollution without limits, Romney doubles down by pushing for more oil drilling in the pristine Arctic and off the coast of American beaches and fewer of the safeguards that help keep our air and water clean. He even proclaimed he’d approve the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline on his hypothetical first day in office.

With an oil executive as his right-hand man on energy, it’s no coincidence that Romney is reciting big oil’s talking points.

The old saying goes that you dance with the ones that brought you. That seems to be Mitt’s philosophy -- and he’s definitely letting the oil companies lead.

-- Trey Pollard, Sierra Club Deputy Press Secretary

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Learn more about the positions of the Republican Presidential Primary candidates at Realrepubs.com.

The Sierra Club Voter Education Fund’s Real Republicans project seeks to educate voters about the records of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates by highlighting their extreme positions on public health and other issues of critical importance to the American people and encourage the public to find out more about the candidates and their positions on these issues.

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