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What Will Rick Perry Mean For Energy? Here Are 4 Things He's Said

National Energy

President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly nominate former Texas governor Rick Perry as United States Secretary of Energy. Perry has been in the public eye for years as governor, presidential hopeful and Dancing with the Stars contestant, giving us some indication of how he would run the Department of Energy.


Perry on climate change: “Are we as Americans going to jeopardize the future of this country economically by putting into place a program that there are still enough skeptics in my book to stand with them and say, ‘You know what, I don’t believe that man-made global warming is settled in science enough for us to justify an economic impact on this country that could be devastating to the future'?"

Perry, who made that comment at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire in 2011, has frequently said that the science of climate change is not settled. He has spoken out against Obama’s plans to cap carbon emissions under the prediction that such regulations would be damaging to the economy. “Calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice to the country, and I believe a disservice to the world,” he said in 2014. The EPA would agree with Perry on that one. CO2 isn’t a pollutant…by itself. But the EPA and climatologists say CO2’s role in propagating climate change can’t be denied. 

Perry on incentivizing renewables: “If you allow for our products to be sold in all these different markets and really have good trade policies in place, then American agriculture can compete anywhere in the world and you don’t necessarily have to have RFS or these mandates and subsidies,” at a town hall in Iowa in May 2015.

The EPA’s renewable fuel standard program reduces North American greenhouse gas emissions and the US’s dependence on imported oil by requiring that transportation fuel use a percentage of renewable materials, increased incrementally over time. If Perry repealed or restructured RFS and other mandates and subsidies, it would make clean and renewable energy an option and put the power back in private hands.


Perry on the intersection of energy and economy: “In Texas, we have chosen jobs. We have chosen energy security, and we will one day end America’s dependence on hostile sources of foreign energy," at an address for the Texas Legislature in January 2015.

Perry has touted that creating energy jobs and improving the environment are not mutually exclusive, and relaxing energy policy is at the root of both. His low-regulation environment for the energy sector in Texas allowed the state to create about 1.5 million jobs during Perry’s time as governor and the state now stands as the No. 1 producer of natural gas and wind energy in the US. But under a president who has vowed to bring back American jobs and called global warming a hoax created by the Chinese, it seems a safe bet that Trump and Perry will prioritize jobs over the environment and will try to increase US production of oil. 

Perry on his expertise: “I’m not a scientist," to the Dallas Morning News in June 2014.

Current energy secretary Ernest Moniz holds a master's and Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and formerly taught at MIT. Former energy secretary Steven Chu won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for his work cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. George W. Bush’s energy secretaries, Samuel Bodman and Spencer Abraham, hold doctorate degrees from MIT and Harvard Law School, respectively. Of the 11 former energy secretaries, all have post-graduate degrees and many have a science or engineering Ph.D. Rick Perry holds a bachelor's of science in animal science from Texas A&M University. 

Perry on nuclear weapons: ??

Perry hasn’t been outspoken about the primary function of his potential new job: nuclear security. The DOE has a $28B budget, about 60% of which goes toward protecting nuclear security, maintaining nuclear weapons and managing radioactive waste. Energy, environment and science spending make up the remainder of the budget. As governor of Texas, he may have gained some familiarity with nuclear weapons—the Pantex plant in Amarillo is the country's primary location to assemble and disassemble nuclear weapons. But Perry hasn't discussed nuclear weapon policy or how the US should handle threats from foreign countries, and these could very quickly land on his plate if Trump throws out the Iran nuclear deal and looks to replace it.