Meet his top energy adviser: billionaire oil tycoon Harold Hamm
BISMARK, ND — “Tapping the Bakken has already made Hamm one of America’s richest oil barons, and North Dakota now rivals Texas as the top-producing oil state, with an economy hotter than a Houston sidewalk in August. In 2011, tax proceeds were up 44 percent from the year before, prompting a ballot measure that attempted (unsuccessfully) to abolish property taxes. Thousands of new oil jobs have given North Dakota the nation’s lowest unemployment rate (3 percent) and overwhelmed cattle country with an influx of fortune seekers. Ranching hamlets that once had five-minute rush hours now endure endless caravans of exhaust-spewing tanker trucks filled with oil, fracking fluids, and ‘hot loads’ of drilling waste.
… In March, Mitt Romney named Hamm his top energy adviser. Though a largely ceremonial post, the choice signaled that Romney, who had advocated for clean power as governor of Massachusetts, was casting his lot with the oil and gas industry. Barely a month later, Hamm contributed $985,000 to Romney’s super-PAC. Shortly after that, Romney, in a speech in Virginia, extolled Hamm’s tale of hitting ‘that black gold’ as the triumph of the little guy over big government. “This is how the founders envisioned America,” he stressed. ‘They didn’t want to have a country that was guided by a government; instead they wanted to have a country that was driven by free people pursuing their dreams.’
— Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones