A "policy of abundance"

Earlier this month we talked about the startling revelation that there is an ocean of oil under the American west and the possible implications that could portend for America’s future. But one thing which should have been immediately obvious is that resources in any amount don’t do much for you while they’re sitting in the ground. This week the Romney campaign dispatched Mitt’s top energy guy, Harold Hamm, to draw a stark contrast between the two candidates’ policies.

“Why is energy such a high-level issue this year?,” said Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources and chairman of Romney’s energy policy advisory team, on Thursday. “It is pretty simple: because of the failure of Obama’s energy policy.”

He said Obama’s policies aimed at developing renewable energy are based on a false notion of oil and natural-gas “scarcity” that has been overtaken by the U.S. production boom.

“Romney has a policy of abundance; the other one is one of scarcity,” Hamm said.

As the article notes, President Obama was back on the trail immediately in Iowa talking energy as well, but the message was mixed and the theme of the week should draw a sharp contrast between words and deeds. He kept talking about an “all of the above” strategy, but what he was dynamically pushing was an extension of a key wind energy tax credit. And even as he claims to include gas and oil as part of his strategy, he’s building a commission to bog down the process of extracting oil and gas from shale.

What does all of this mean for the average consumer? On this Memorial Day weekend, AAA estimates that almost 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more. And while gas is a little cheaper at around $3.79, that’s still a lot of money for most families. And API’s John Felmy warns that we’re far from being out of the woods yet. Expanded domestic production will be required if we are to continue exerting downward pressure on prices at the pump.

To his credit, Mitt Romney has figured out this puzzle very early on. By continuing to push taxpayer dollars into alternate fuel sources while complicating oil and gas extraction, Obama is truly pursuing an atmosphere of scarcity, while Mitt is looking for a policy of abundance.

BONUS READING: How the western hemisphere is leveling the playing field on energy.

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