Oil Billionaire Demands University of Oklahoma Fire Scientists for Exposing Fracking Risks

anti-fracking protestersWhy millions of Americans trust the oil industry on matters of environmental sciences baffles me. It’s easily one of the most corrupt industries on the planet, yet millions of Americans blindly act as if there’s nothing unethical about anything that they do.


I’ve often compared big oil to big tobacco from just a few decades ago in that there really isn’t a level to which they will not stoop to slander or discredit anything that might dare prove that what they’re doing or producing is harmful or dangerous.

In today’s world we’re literally at a point where scientific experts are under attack because the facts they’re finding via the scientific process by which scientific facts are determined aren’t exactly revelations that big oil wants the public to know about.

Especially when it comes to fracking.

By all accounts, fracking is just absolutely terrible. It’s loud, it’s messy, it’s destructive to the environment and it’s just flat-out dangerous. It’s literally poisoning the water supply for some Americans.

But it’s extremely cost-effective for big oil and energy companies to extract natural resources, so therefore they absolutely love it.

Perhaps the most well-known issue linked to fracking are earthquakes. And perhaps no other state exemplifies this problem quite as well as Oklahoma, a state that’s seen the number of earthquakes in the state skyrocket in the last several years. Prior to 2009, Oklahoma averaged 1.6 earthquakes of 3.0 or greater magnitude per year. In 2014, they had 585. 

Naturally this has led to scientists studying why the state has seen such a massive increase in earthquakes to determine whether or not all this seismic activity is linked to fracking. Because while common sense tells us that it is, science requires following a process to eliminate any and all other factors before reaching a definitive conclusion.

Well, it seems billionaire oil tycoon Harold Hamm wasn’t too trilled that scientists from the University of Oklahoma were studying whether or not fracking causes earthquakes, so he wrote an email to the school pushing for the dismissal of those scientists who might ultimately prove that fracking is indeed causing these quakes.

“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,” wrote Larry Grillot, the dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy.


Hamm also apparently planned a meeting with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to discuss moving the OGS off campus. You see, Hamm is a big donor to the university and apparently didn’t like that scientists there were doing studies that linked fracking to the drastic increase in earthquakes in the state. That’s just not “good for business.”

Naturally, Hamm denies all of this. Apparently, Grillot is just making all of this up – you know, because that makes sense, right?

But this sort of nonsense is par for the course when it comes to big oil companies and those who they’ve bought and paid for. Back in 2011, former Texas governor Rick Perry was caught ordering the doctoring of an environmental report to remove the language related to the conclusion that humans were causing climate change.

Though what’s possibly the saddest thing in all of this is that even though these crooked oil tycoons and politicians aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they’re actively trying to discredit scientific facts, there are still millions of Americans dumb enough to trust them.



Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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