Romney's top energy advisor is multi-billionaire oil developer Harold Hamm. Hamm is what you might call a personal pragmatist: whatever makes him the most money is the policy he prefers.
Thus, Hamm opposed the Keystone Pipeline expansion, which would aid his competitors to the north. He sided with environmentalists who were fighting against it — until developers agreed to build an "on-ramp" to carry his Oklahoma oil, at which point he became a staunch advocate.
This is how we can expect energy policy to be made in Romney's America.
Romney's stated energy plan calls for letting companies like Hamm's pull from the land and sea any and all oil, gas, coal, and shale they can find.
We might not actually see oil rigs on Georges Bank off the coast of Massachusetts by next summer, but the process to put them there could be underway.
Meanwhile, the government will put the brakes on efforts to develop new clean-energy markets — "chasing fads and picking winners," as Romney calls it.
This will not only harm the environment, it will choke off an enormous industry, capable of supporting millions of jobs, before it has an opportunity to take hold. For instance, a tax credit for wind energy is set to expire at the end of this year; Romney is opposed to extending it.
Romney will also be the first president in generations to thoroughly de-emphasize conservation and efficiency in the quest for "energy independence."