WSJ: Donald Trump energy adviser walks back candidate’s comments on fracking

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Donald Trump’s top energy adviser on Tuesday sought to play down the Republican presidential candidate’s recent comments in Colorado that he could support local efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources Inc., said in an interview with the Journal that Trump did not fully understand the question when he was asked about local control over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by a reporter at 9News. He said Trump was a strong supporter of the industry.

“Donald Trump did not understand that concept at the time in my opinion,” Hamm said in an interview at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference. “He does now.”

Trump said in the interview during a campaign visit to Colorado in July that he could support local efforts to ban fracking — which involves pumping water and chemicals into rock formations to unlock oil and natural gas. “Well, I’m in favor of fracking, but I think that voters should have a big say in it,” Trump told 9News. “If a municipality or state wants to ban fracking, I can understand it.”

Hamm said he hasn’t spoken to Trump about the comments, but emphasized that he is confident the GOP nominee does not support local bans on fracking. A request for comment to the Trump campaign by the Journal was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Colorado is a battleground between the energy industry anti-fracking activists who are hoping to establish local control over oil and gas development through a proposed ballot initiative. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has bucked his party’s mainstream by opposing local control of the industry.

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Hamm said Trump got caught up in the term “local control.”

“I think he was pulled into that with the term local control, which is a magnet for Republican thoughts,” Hamm said.

In a speech at the conference, Hamm sought to assuage the industry crowd that the Republican presidential nominee supported the sector.

“Donald Trump is pro-business. He is pro-energy and he is not going to shut down fracking or drilling or anything else,” said Hamm. “He is for this industry 100 percent.”

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