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Oil CEO Wanted University Quake Scientists Dismissed: Dean's E-Mail

The billionaire CEO of Continental Resources told a dean at the University of Oklahoma that he wanted earthquake researchers dismissed
Harold Hamm in Oklahoma City.

Harold Hamm in Oklahoma City.

Photographer: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
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Oil tycoon Harold Hamm told a University of Oklahoma dean last year that he wanted certain scientists there dismissed who were studying links between oil and gas activity and the state's nearly 400-fold increase in earthquakes, according to the dean's e-mail recounting the conversation.

Hamm, the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, is a major donor to the university, which is the home of the Oklahoma Geological Survey. He has vigorously disputed the notion that he tried to pressure the survey's scientists. "I'm very approachable, and don't think I'm intimidating," Hamm was quoted as saying in an interview with EnergyWire, an industry publication, that was published on May 11. "I don't try to push anybody around."