By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- Only around 35,000 people live in Hobbs, New Mexico, but on Thursday, the city was a national hotspot. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a pit stop in Hobbs, a place known for its petroleum-based economy. In a rally that was free and open to the public, the former Governor laid out his plan for gaining energy independence, should he be elected.
Romney told the crowd, "[We need to take] advantage of our energy resources. Our oil, coal, gas, renewable, wind and solar energy." He spoke of freeing the country of foreign energy dependence by 2020. In the process, he believes he can bring more opportunities to Americans.
"Three million jobs will come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet. That's oil and gas," Romney said.
Romney vowed to change the country's offshore drilling process by expanding it, while keeping it safe. He's also planning to speed up the drilling permit process on federal land. From here on out, the former Governor wants the states to take responsibility for permitting with federal oversight. He also vows to get the Keystone pipeline completed and implement what he describes as a need for more transparency in the energy regulatory process. Lastly, he's promoting energy innovation through scientific research.
"We're going to find ways to bring down our use of energy and we may even be an exporter at some point when you consider all of our resources," Romney said.