Trump picks Rick Perry to run US Department of Energy

President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, has selected the former Texas governor Rick Perry as the country’s new energy secretary.

Perry is a veteran of the United States Air Force, and the longest serving governor in Texas history, having led the world’s 12th largest economy from 2000 to 2015.

Prior to being elected Lieutenant Governor in 1998, he served two terms as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture and three terms in the Texas House of Representatives.

Donald Trump said: “As the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry created created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as Secretary of Energy.”

Commenting on the appointment, Rick Perry said: “As the former governor of the nation’s largest energy producing state, I know American energy is critical to our economy and our security. I look forward to engaging in a conversation about the development, stewardship and regulation of our energy resources, safeguarding our nuclear arsenal, and promoting an American energy policy that creates jobs and puts America first.”

Concerns have been raised about the continuation of clean energy transition, and climate change action in the US, since Trump appointed at least two other cabinet members beside Perry who have in the past questioned the science behind climate change, including Scott Pruitt who has been selected to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, appointed as the Secretary of State.

“I am concerned that some elite American politicians deny science. You will be in the Middle Ages if you deny science. If the United States, in the worst case, were to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, we will depend more on China. China and…many others will provide the global leadership we need,” Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program told Reuters.

Commenting on Perry’s choice as the Secretary of the Energy Department, Abigail Dillen, Vice President of Litigation for Climate & Energy at US-based environmental law firm Earthjustice, said:

“The Trump team gave the oil and gas industry a trifecta at the expense of the vast majority of Americans who understand the urgency of acting on climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuels to clean energy. These nominations would give the wealthiest oil executives in the country unprecedented power over our daily lives—from the air we breathe to the water we drink.

“Like his fellow cabinet appointees Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, Governor Perry has been a champion of fossil fuel interests. He has refused to implement the Clean Power Plan, he sits on the board of the company seeking to build the Dakota Access pipeline, and during his 2016 presidential run said he would approve the Keystone pipeline on “day one.”

“We look to the Department of Energy for crucial scientific and technological innovations in the energy field. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is an area where the DOE is moving us forward with renewable energy and energy efficiency breakthroughs. The leader of the DOE should value and take pride in these pioneering advancements. Governor Perry seems not to care less. During his presidential run in 2012, he told voters he would eliminate the very cabinet position he has now been asked to fill.

“But in the face of the incoming Trump administration’s hostility toward climate leadership, the majority of Americans who favor forward-thinking climate and energy policies should take heart: much of our nation’s energy policy is made at the state level. We can and we are making progress from climate-polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy in the states. We’ll continue to do so with or without assistance from the Trump administration.”

Perry’s nomination to head the US Department of Energy will have to be confirmed by the US Senate.

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