Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Did an oil tycoon try to get researchers fired?

CBS Money Watch
May 20th, 2015

Here's a story that's shaking up the Oklahoma oil patch. Oil tycoon Harold Hamm pressured the University of Oklahoma to fire scientists that published research linking the more than 400-fold increase in earthquakes in the Sooner State to activity from the oil and natural gas industry, according to Bloomberg News. Officials in Oklahoma, however, claim that Hamm didn't act on his threat.
The Bloomberg story quotes from an email, obtained through an open public records act, that quotes Larry Grillot, the dean of the University of Oklahoma's Newbourne College of Earth and Energy, saying "Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS (Oklahoma Geological Survey) staff dismissed." Hamm also indicated to Grillot that he was "would be very interested and would be willing to sit on your search committee" for a new director.
According to school officials, Grillot never forwarded Hamm's request to University of Oklahoma President David Boren, a former U.S. senator and governor who sits on the board of Continental Resources (CLR), the oil and gas company where Hamm is chairman and chief executive.

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