Harold Hamm, the CEO of oil company Continental Resources, tried to get scientists at the University of Oklahoma fired after the presented research that increased seismic activity in the Midwest is linked to wastewater disposal from fracking, according toBloomberg.
…an email obtained from the university by Bloomberg News via a public records request says Hamm used a blunt approach during a 90-minute meeting last year with the dean whose department includes the geological survey.
“Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed,” wrote Larry Grillot, the dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, in a July 16, 2014, email to colleagues at the university. Hamm also expressed an interest in joining a search committee charged with finding a new director for the geological survey, according to Grillot’s email. And, the dean wrote, Hamm indicated that he would be “visiting with Governor [Mary] Fallin on the topic of moving the OGS out of the University of Oklahoma.”
The university did not cave to the pressure to remove scientists, however, and none have been terminated since the 2014 emails that Bloomberg obtained.
Bloomberg also describes Hamm as a “generous donor” to the University of Oklahoma to the tune of many millions of dollars.
Scientists have now more or less definitively proven that wastewater disposal tied to fracking has caused the sharp rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years.
Bloomberg has previously reported that Oklahoma scientists have been slow to roll out their findings.