19 january 2017

[4C Note: We can only post a few paragraphs from this important, thoughtful review of the controversial hearings on former Texas Governor Rick Perry's appointment as Secretary of Energy in Trump's cabinet. What pinpoints the controversial character of Perry's appointment is his earlier vow to abolish the Department of Energy (which he now retracts as misguided) and the financing his political career has received from oil and gas interests. Democrats on the committee also questioned him repeatedly on his views on climate change. We urge you to read the entire article.]

Rick Perry expresses ‘regret’ for pledging to abolish Energy Department

In his opening statement at his confirmation hearing Jan. 19, President-elect Trump's nominee for energy secretary, former Texas governor Rick Perry, said his past statements about eliminating the Department of Energy do not reflect his current thinking. (Reuters)

By Steven Mufson and Sean Sullivan, Washington Post, January 19, 2017


Many people say that Perry, despite his past vow to dismantle the department, has valuable experience for running it. As governor, he benefited from a rapid expansion of oil and gas exploration in new shale oil and shale gas plays. But he also oversaw an expansion of transmission lines that made way for a rapid expansion of wind energy.

“Under Rick Perry’s leadership, Texas created a stable, long-term, competitive energy market, combined with robust infrastructure investment, which allowed new technologies, like wind, to enter,” the American Wind Energy Association’s chief executive, Tom Kiernan, said in a letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

During Perry’s tenure, Texas became the nation’s leading wind energy state. In 2000, Texas wind energy production was 200 megawatts. By the end of 2015, the state had nearly 18,000 megawatts of installed capacity, driven by more than $32 billion of private investment in wind farms.

Perry’s decision to support expansion of the Texas electric transmission lines spurred almost $7 billion in areas such as western Texas.

Environmental groups are less enthusiastic. Perry has sharply criticized Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.) for banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to explore for shale oil and shale gas. “I don’t understand why a governor like Governor Cuomo, who is a smart and thoughtful individual, would allow a small group of radical environmentalists to stop job creation and to stop people’s ability to have a better life for themselves,” Perry said in a radio interview with a New York Post columnist.

Environmental groups have also pointed to Perry’s campaign contributions. “Dirty energy interests have given Perry more than $13 million in campaign contributions,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Despite the wind jobs created in his state, Perry “repeatedly claimed that protecting the environment kills jobs,” Suh said.



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