Drill that! Trump rumored to put fracking billionaire in charge of energy sector

U.S. Republican Presidnetial nominee Donald Trump and Harold Hamm, founder and CEO of Continental Resources © Reuters
If Donald Trump becomes president, America may get a ‘fracker-in-chief’ as its energy minister. Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oil man and Republican donor, has been advising the Republican candidate on energy.

Reuters reported Wednesday that sources close to the Trump campaign have indicated that the candidate is considering Hamm for the position of energy secretary in his prospective cabinet, citing four anonymous sources.

The move would actually make Hamm, who is currently the CEO of Continental Resources, the first US energy secretary selected straight from the oil and gas industry since the cabinet position was created in 1977.

In his speech before the Republican National Convention, Hamm said that Trump would protect American interests by taking a more laissez-faire approach to the energy industry than President Obama or presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.   

“Donald Trump will restore America’s rightful place as energy leader of the world,” the energy mogul said. “Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded. Orlando brought this home once again. It’s been 15 years since 9/11. We can’t ignore this problem, it’s not going away. Climate change isn’t our biggest problem, it’s Islamic terrorism. Every onerous regulation puts American lives at risk.”

Hamm, 70, has reportedly been an informal energy adviser to Trump since May, when Trump gave a speech to an oil industry conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. Hamm also helped Trump coordinate a June meeting of business leaders and lobbyists in New York dubbed the Trump Leadership Council, and has helped build support for the candidate among influential figures in the oil industry, where many have had worries over Trump’s inexperience in the field.

Hamm became one of the US’s wealthiest men thanks to his take in the fracking industry during the country’s oil and natural gas boom over the last decade. He, like fellow billionaire Trump, has long promoted US fossil fuel development as a means to curb the power of oil-rich OPEC nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Trump has yet to make any announcements about his plans for a cabinet, but he has mostly surrounded himself with proponents of fossil fuel sources, like Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), the architect of his energy platform, and picked Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a climate change skeptic, as his running mate.

“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,” environmental activist Bill McKibben told Reuters.