Rick Perry says he regrets recommending DoE elimination

Rick Perry (Photo: greatagain.gov)

On Thursday morning (EST), the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to consider the nomination of Rick Perry, after the newly-elected president of the United States, Donald Trump, selected the former Texas governor as the country’s new energy secretary.

At the hearing, Perry reflected on his statement from several years ago that led to some circles within the energy sector voicing their concerns on former Texas Governor being appointed to lead the Department of Energy (DoE). “My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination,” Perry stated.

Among the issues voiced upon the announcement of Rick Perry’s new role in December 2016 was that Donald Trump had added another member to the government who is a climate change sceptic, since the President-elect appointed Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, as the Secretary of State and Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which Pruitt had sued over its regulations of power plants.

“I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by manmade activity. The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy, or American jobs,” Rick Perry said at the hearing. “When it comes to climate change, I am committed to making decisions based on sound science and that also take into account the economic impact.”

However, overall reactions on Rick Perry’s new role were mixed, as some of those involved in the industry welcomed his background in recognising clean energy opportunities, which ultimately led the state of Texas to being the US leader in wind energy.

Speaking about renewable energy, Perry stated: “If confirmed, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms, and that includes renewables. 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.”

Subject to being confirmed, Rick Perry will take over the position from Ernest Jeffrey Moniz, an American nuclear physicist and the United States Secretary of Energy since 2013.

In an opening statement at yesterday’s hearing, Chairman Lisa Murkowski said: “You are seeking to lead the Department of Energy at both an interesting time and a critical time. DOE has helped make our nation a global leader in research and development by supporting basic research, encouraging scientific exploration, and fostering innovation.”

“I think the Department of Energy some has a great opportunity to partner with communities and organizations not only in Alaska but around the country to develop real solutions, particularly with renewable energy, that will reduce our energy costs,” Murkowski said.

Tidal Energy Today Staff

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