Cramer says Hamm has ‘right of first refusal’ for DOE

Source: George Cahlink, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rep. Kevin Cramer, an ally of President-elect Donald Trump, believes Continental Resources Inc. CEO Harold Hamm should have the “right of first refusal” to become Energy secretary in the new administration.

“If I can serve North Dakota in the House of Representatives with a friend in the White House and another good friend would become Energy secretary, I’d feel like I won the lottery,” the North Dakota Republican told reporters last evening.

If Hamm demurs, Cramer did not rule out taking the job. However, Cramer said the Trump transition team had not approached him about the post. If it did, he would tell them to talk to Hamm first.

Cramer, elected to a third term with nearly 70 percent of the vote last week, was an adviser to the Trump campaign on energy policy. Before Congress, he served several years as an utilities regulator in North Dakota.

Like Hamm and Trump, Cramer has called for a rollback of federal environmental laws that limit energy production and extraction.

Cramer said Hamm appeals to the president-elect because of his business background. Hamm, one of the oil industry’s more politically connected figures, has been a financial supporter of Cramer, whose state is home to a large portion of the Bakken Shale, one of the nation’s largest oil plays.

“I think that the fact that Harold has fought against and prevailed in some cases and struggled in other cases against the bureaucracy that Donald Trump has vowed to roll back uniquely positions him” to be Energy secretary, said Cramer.

Hamm seemed to take himself out of the running for the post last week, saying in an email to company employees he was focused on work at his firm based in Oklahoma City.

But Cramer predicted Hamm would not be able to turn down Trump if asked, given the energy mogul’s sense of patriotism.