Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday detailed an energy policy that would give states more control over drilling and mining on government lands.
Romney’s plan would end a century of federal control of drilling and mining on government land, reports the New York Times, a move likely to appease energy states with big petroleum potential on federal lands — like Alaska, Colorado and Nevada — and states with lots of oil and gas companies, like Oklahoma.
Romney’s energy plan was praised by Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry, reports The Oklahoman. That makes sense, because an Oklahoman energy executive — Harold Hamm of oil and gas producer Continental Resources — was one of the architects.
NYT reporters Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss on the industry’s reaction to the plan, which calls for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, reduced federal drilling regulation and opening more federal land for petroleum exploration and production:
Mr. Romney’s proposal drew immediate praise from the industry, which has complained that gas production on public lands has slowed under President Obama, even while it has surged on private lands.
Romney’s 21-page plan was endorsed by billionaire oil and gas tycoon and Oklahoma native T. Boone Pickens, reports The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth:
Pickens for years has called for the country’s trucking fleet to convert to natural gas instead of oil, saying the effort alone would eliminate the need for three-quarters of the oil the United States imports from OPEC.
“He is saying heavy duty trucks need to get on natural gas. That is an easy sell because of the fuel savings,” Pickens said.
The NYT also reports that Romney’s promise of drilling opportunity could be a “big reward” to major campaign supporters within the energy industry:
Just this week, the oil and gas industry gave nearly $10 million toward the Romney election effort in two fund-raisers.