U.S. Senate confirms former Texas governor Perry as Energy Secretary

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Texas Governor Rick Perry as the 14th Secretary of the United States Department of Energy with a vote of 62 to 37. 

Perry was nominated to head the department last December. Following the vote, he was sworn in on Thursday, March 2, 2017.

According to a statement from the Department of Energy, Perry brings the executive experience and management skills honed during his time as governor to the leadership of the department.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Energy. As Secretary, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms. America has been blessed with vast natural resources and the technology to utilize them. I am committed to helping provide stable, reliable, affordable, and secure sources of American energy. An American first energy strategy is important to create jobs and grow the economy,” said Secretary Perry.

He also added: “I have a long record of aggressively courting leading scientific minds to set forth innovation, solutions, and job creation strategies. Our scientists and labs are the envy of the world, and I am a major proponent of maintaining American leadership in the area of scientific inquiry.”

 

‘Loyal to fossil fuels’

 

The environmental group Earthjustice objected Perry’s nomination in December and, following his confirmation, the group Vice President of Litigation for Climate & Energy, Abigail Dillen, said: “At a time when we need to be making a wholesale shift from coal, oil and gas to renewable energy, we look to the Department of Energy for the crucial clean energy research and innovation that is absolutely essential to our energy transformation. Perry, who saw firsthand the rise of wind generation in Texas, needs to be an aggressive champion of pioneering advancements, and push back on any cuts to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.”

Dillen added: “The pay-to-play approach that Perry took in Texas would be disastrous for the country and for the world as our window to avert a climate crisis begins to close. As governor, Perry was pro-coal, pro-oil, pro-fracking, and most of all, loyal to his major donors from the fossil fuels industry who funneled more than $11 million to him between 1998 and 2016. In an administration where the oil and gas industry is at the tiller, it will be essential to hold Perry and the Department of Energy accountable for moving us forward with the renewable power and clean solutions that are actually creating jobs and reinvigorating our energy economy.

“A few weeks ago, we saw a man who has made it his mission to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency become its leader. We saw the former CEO of ExxonMobil ascend to Secretary of State. Now, we have a former climate change denier who has received millions of dollars from the oil and gas industry on track to lead the Department of Energy—an agency that plays a pivotal role in decisions about whether to subsidize fossil fuels of the past or to invest in the tools we need to grow our renewable energy economy.

“At Earthjustice, where we are using the power of the law to force a shift from dirty to clean energy, we pledge to provide the leadership needed at this urgent moment and to hold the Trump administration accountable for any and all setbacks to clean energy progress.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

 

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