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‘Just Scrap’ Obama’s Energy Rules, Trump Adviser Says

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Bill Lovless, USA Today

The man that Donald Trump calls the “king of energy” in the U.S. predicts quick action by the next president to roll back Obama administration policies opposed by the oil and natural gas industry.

“There are so many of them. You just scrap them,” Harold Hamm, the billionaire CEO of Continental Resources, said Wednesday, hours after Trump’s surprising win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“There’s five times the regulation on our industry than there was before the Obama administration,” Hamm said in an interview. “I mean, it’s just been a pile-on.”

Among the policies opposed by Hamm and other producers is a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to curb emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, from oil and gas operations.

“It’s like we’re out to pollute the world with methane gas,” Hamm complained, disputing assertions by advocates of the policy that the industry hasn’t done enough to capture the emissions.

“That’s not the case,” he said. “It’s never been the case.”

That’s just one of many energy policies that Trump, a climate skeptic, could target quickly using his executive authority, ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington consulting group, said in a note Wednesday.

For example, the Trump administration could come to the rescue of two controversial oil pipeline projects, including granting an easement to the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that would carry crude oil from North Dakota, where Continental Resources is a major player, to an Illinois refinery.

The project is stalled in North Dakota in the face of opposition by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its supporters, who say the project would destroy ancient tribal artifacts and potentially pollute waterways.

Likewise, Trump’s administration could approve a new cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a TransCanada Corp. initiative to ship oil from Canada to the U.S. that Obama rejected last year.

Other potential pro-industry actions at the disposal of the new administration include resuming periodic oil and gas leasing on federal lands, revising or abandoning Energy Department requirements for exporting liquefied natural gas and suspending Securities and Exchange Commission rules requiring companies to disclose risks posed by climate change, according to ClearView.

“People are going to use oil and gas,” Hamm said. “So, if we don’t develop our own, you’re back on foreign oil.”

As for oil price prices, Hamm expects “stability” as Trump aims to open more federal land and offshore waters to drilling, curb regulations and support exports of U.S. crude.

As Hamm spoke, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was on a rollercoaster ride, falling 2.6% to $43.80 a barrel just after midnight Wednesday, then rising 4.2% to $45.67 at noon.

Hamm’s remarks come as speculation continues that he may be a candidate for energy secretary in the Trump administration.

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