Rick Perry was sworn in as energy secretary yesterday (March 2) after the Senate confirmed him with a 62-37 vote, including 10 Democrat senators who voted in favor of the Republican.
The newest addition to President Donald Trump’s cabinet served as the governor of Texas for 15 years before this new position. He’s also run for president twice—in 2016 (against Trump) and 2012.
Perry infamously forgot the name of the Department of Energy during a presidential debate in his first campaign, when he hoped to eliminate the agency altogether. And while Perry has extensive political experience, his most recent predecessors were educated in the fields of physics and engineering—critical skills when managing the nation’s nearly $13 billion nuclear security budget.
However, climate denier Perry is well versed in the politics surrounding non-nuclear energy development like natural gas and wind. While Texas governor, natural gas production rose by 50 percent, reports The Texas Tribune, and he brought wind production from essentially zero to 10 percent of the state’s grid.
His past comments show what his constituents might expect from him as energy secretary.
On climate change:
In 2011, the secretary spoke critically of the scientifically proven crisis on the campaign trail.
“I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed.”
On federal power:
In a CNN interview in 2010 on his book “Fed Up!,” the then-governor was critical of how federal agencies were utilizing their power.
“I want to help moderate, if you will, a very important discussion about Washington’s overreach, their abusing of the Constitution. This book, I think, lays it out in a fairly easily followed way about where they’ve been overreaching, telling the states how to run their business, and we think that is not only bad for the future of our country. I think it’s bad for the world because states are where the competition occurs. The best way to deliver healthcare will be decided by each of the states, we think, not centralized in Washington, D.C.”
“From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”