Whatever you may think of Donald Trump, there is no question that his election has delighted players in North Dakota’s biggest industries, energy and agriculture.
On energy, specifically,Trump’s election has probably cleared the Obama-created red tape holding up the Dakota Access Pipeline, and could mean a resurrection of the Keystone XL project as well. And it may well be that oil man Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources and one of the biggest players in North Dakota’s oil fields, could be the new head of the Department of Energy.
“Hamm has long been seen as a leading candidate for the job and has been Trump’s friend for years,” the Daily Caller reports. “Hamm worked his way up from pumping gas to becoming CEO of his own billion-dollar company, Continental Resources. As a CEO, Hamm popularized fracking, paving the way for a new American oil boom and earning him a net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes.”
I asked North Dakota Congressman (and Trump adviser) Kevin Cramer about these rumors this morning.
“It’s a very short list and I believe Harold has earned the top three spots,” he told me. “He is well positioned for the job and while he may argue his business responsibilities would make it difficult to take a leave from Continental, that would be a tough argument to make to DJT.”
There has been plenty of speculation about Cramer getting his own spot in a Trump administration, but when I asked him about it during an interview last week he told me it was “unlikely to happen.”
Trump picking Hamm, who is often credited with revolutionizing the use of fracking in shale oil development, would be a controversial pick for the environmental left, no doubt. Which makes me kind of hope Trump does it.
As for Cramer in a Trump administration, by feeling is that he’d rather continue to be elected by the people of North Dakota in one fashion or another. I think it’s much more likely that he stays in the House for now, and challenges Senator Heidi Heitkamp for her seat in 2018.
A race, given recent political trends in North Dakota, he’d probably win.