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Trump Considers Continental Resources’ Harold Hamm for DOE Pick

With the Republican National Convention wrapping up this week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is considering nominating one notable fracking CEO to become his Secretary of Energy if he wins the November election.

Reuters reports that Donald Trump is leaning towards appointing Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, to take over the Department of Energy. If such an event were to occur, it would be the first time that an energy secretary came directly from the oil and gas industry.

Harold Hamm spoke at the Republican Convention on Wednesday night, where he spoke about the need for the U.S. to expand oil and gas drilling. "Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded," Hamm said in Cleveland. "Every onerous regulation puts American lives at risk."

Hamm believes that the U.S. can double its oil production under a Trump administration. But under President Clinton, he argues, fossil fuel development would end. While neither claim is likely, his comments were well received by the Republican crowd.

Although the oil and gas industry would be enthusiastic about one of their own ascending to a Trump cabinet position, the Department of Energy has very little say over oil and gas production. The bulk of the agency’s work revolves around securing and tending to the U.S.’ nuclear weapons stockpile. Still, the DOE could steer government R&D dollars towards fossil fuel innovation. Related: Oil Industry CEO Claims Democrats Have Done More For Oil

The Oklahoma-based Continental Resources is one of the largest players in the Bakken in North Dakota and also has a major presence in Oklahoma and the Niobrara in Colorado. “I guess you can consider Harold the king of energy,” Trump said a few months ago after they discussed energy issues. Trump went on to say that Mr. Hamm was “one of the great oilmen of the world.”

Hamm was also an energy adviser to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Needless to say, the reports that Trump has placed Hamm at the top of his list for Secretary of Energy was not viewed favorably by environmentalists. "Given that Hamm's as close as we've got to a fracker-in-chief in this country, it would be an apropos pick for a president who thinks global warming is a hoax manufactured by the Chinese," leading environmental activist Bill McKibben told Reuters.

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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