Trump should pick Cramer to lead DOE — Hamm

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, December 2, 2016

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm gave his blessing today for President-elect Donald Trump to tap Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota as Energy secretary in the new administration.

“Kevin’s a great guy, and he’d be a perfect candidate. I’ve put his name forward for DOE. … He’d be a perfect candidate for that job,” Hamm said during an interview with CNBC. “He’d certainly do a better job in that post than me.”

Cramer, who advises Trump on energy issues, said last month that Hamm had earned the “right of first refusal” for the top spot at DOE overseeing sprawling national labs, the nuclear arsenal and more than 13,000 employees and contractors (E&E Daily, Nov. 15).

But Hamm today touted Cramer’s credentials as a former utilities regulator in North Dakota. When asked if he was interested in the post, Hamm reiterated that he has a full-time job running Continental Resources Inc. and plans to stay put.

Cramer during interviews hasn’t ruled out taking the DOE post, but that could change if Trump selects Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota for a Cabinet post, leaving her seat open in the upper chamber. Heitkamp is slated to meet with the president-elect tomorrow in Trump Tower (Greenwire, Dec. 1).

Cramer has served as chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, overseeing an energy boom that has made the state a leading lignite coal, oil and wind energy producer. Cramer in the past attributed the state’s success to development on private and state land, where the government couldn’t overregulate producers (E&E Daily, Nov. 28, 2012).

The congressman was also chosen to debate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s energy adviser, Trevor Houser, heading up to the presidential election. During that exchange, Cramer touted Trump’s pro-business message, casting the real estate mogul as a gatekeeper to trillions of dollars in oil, gas and coal held back by the Obama administration’s regulations and reliance on what he called uncertain climate science.

Trump’s transition team began arriving at DOE this week, and briefings are now underway, according to an agency spokeswoman.