Trump energy plan a major mistake


Flickr\Phoenix Law

A hydraulic fracturing tower.

Stephan Maranian, Crier Staff

“An American first energy plan”- that is what Donald Trump has promised time and time again. Obviously his energy plan will be huge, great- just like everything else that has come out of his mouth. However, it is vital that voters be aware of the fact that Trump’s energy plan is not safe nor is it sane.

Donald Trump’s “American first energy plan” will use American coal, shale gas, and other energy sources to power the country. He claims to support renewable energy “but not to the exclusion of other forms of energy that right now are working much better”.

Reports by the Huffington Post suggest that Donald Trump is eying the Oklahoma oil and gas tycoon, Harold Hamm, as his energy secretary. Hamm is best known for spearheading the development of shale oil in North Dakota. Hamm is considered to be the 39th wealthiest person in the U.S. and 98th in the world.

Trump naming Hamm as energy secretary would fit his campaign perfectly. Previous heads of U.S. Department of Energy have come from accomplished political or academic backgrounds. Hamm, like Trump, would break this trend. Hamm’s possession of wealth makes him a superb applicant for a position in Trump’s cabinet. However, Mr. Trump needs to remember that in order to “make America wealthy again” the people, not political leaders in office, must benefit.

Shale is a form of mineral rich sedimentary rock only found in certain areas of the world- and North America possesses a large supply. Certain types of shale can also be harvested for their content of fossil fuels and natural gas. Due to its unequal distribution, the pressure to take advantage of it is quite high.

Shale is accessed by drilling a well down through the layers of earth until it reaches shale, at which point the well extends laterally. Water, sand, and chemicals are then forced at incredible pressure down the well and to crack it and free natural gas. This method is called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Fracking is incredibly productive and has caused a 56% decline in the price of oil in the United States. It would not be a bold prediction to say that Hamm as Trump’s head of energy would greatly expand U.S fracking.

This would bring down fuel costs, create many jobs, and move the country away from foreign oil. These stats would lead many to back Trump’s decision to make a fracking mogul his head of energy. However, with fracking there is more under the surface than can be seen.

The prosperity of fracking comes at high risk. The chemicals pumped into the wells are considered “trade secrets” and so they are unknown to the general public. These chemicals, sediments, and other leftover substances can make their way into nearby aquifers and contaminate drinking water supplies. There have been over 1,000 documented cases in which water contamination was observed surrounding areas of gas drilling or hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is also linked to earthquakes, as the materials injected into the earth affect seismic plates and cause quakes to occur. Fracking wells are also known to explode and displace nearby residents.

Donald Trump has a net worth of $4.5 billion and Harold Hamm has a net worth of $13.1 billion. If Trump is elected president he would certainly act to move the country in a new direction. Furthermore, if Hamm is named as head of energy he is likely to drastically expand the dangerous and unstable fracking industry in the country.

This could result in further water crises in the country. Trump includes clean water as one of his focuses in his energy outline and yet it looks like he will be partnered with Harold Hamm, a man who has gained a fortune in an industry directly related to water contamination.

I find it ironic that Trump has been so adamant in his insults towards President Obama over the Flint water crisis and yet here he is, likely to endorse an industry likely to cause the same issue.