Before Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appoints Harold Hamm as his possible energy secretary, he might look at what the oil and gas industry and the fracking boom has wrought in Oklahoma.
Earthquakes. Air pollution. A ruined economy. Underfunded schools and colleges.
It has been rumored that Hamm, chief executive officer of Continental Resources in Oklahoma City, might be considered for the cabinet position, although Hamm has told one media outlet he hasn’t “given it a minute thought.”
Hamm did speak at the recent Republican National Convention, tossing out gems like this: “Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded.” That sounds like a huge exaggeration to me, but then this is Trump’s party now and gross generalizations and fear mongering are the non-substance of its warped ideology.
Let’s be clear: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is not good for any economy. What’s good for the overall world economy is the move towards cleaner, renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, which is slowly happening. Fracking is not only harmful to the environment it also has created a huge world oil glut that has driven down prices and hurt our local economy, leaving Oklahoma exposed, once again, to the boom and bust cycle of the oil and gas industry.
Oil prices remain low despite rosier predictions from wishful people inside the fossil fuel industry. Right now, the price per barrel is around $45. This is down from highs of more than $100 a barrel not that long ago. Some experts have predicted oil prices will go below $40 again after the summer driving season when demand lessens for gasoline. This, along with generous tax breaks to the oil and gas industry, has resulted in major Oklahoma budget problems and cuts to schools and colleges. State legislators cut funding to higher education by nearly 16 percent last session.
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