Romney taps oil exec to lead campaign energy team

Hamm, who ranks 36th on Forbes’s list of the richest people in America, last year gave more than $65,000 to the Republican National Committee and the party’s House and Senate campaign arms, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

He has also made numerous donations to specific candidates — mostly Republicans but some Democrats too.

Romney, who announced Hamm’s arrival on the campaign trail at an event in North Dakota Thursday, used the occasion to bash White House energy policies.

The former Massachusetts governor, in a statement, accused President Obama of “restricting supply, increasing regulation, and hoping for miraculous new technologies to save the day.”

Romney’s campaign vowed that if elected he would speed up permitting for energy projects and establish “fixed timetables for all resource development approvals,” expand areas made available for development, prevent “overregulation” of shale gas drilling and block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, among other goals.

Republicans say White House policies leave too many federal lands and waters off-limits to development.

For instance they have taken aim at Interior Department offshore leasing plans that call for continued leasing expansions in the Gulf of Mexico but leave the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off-limits.

The “Energy Policy Advisory Group” that Hamm will chair will work with the campaign to “assemble a broader policy team and develop a comprehensive national energy policy that creates jobs, protects the environment, and guarantees a reliable, affordable supply of energy to the American economy and to American families,” according to Romney’s campaign.