Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of energy, was the governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015. He also served as lieutenant governor in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected president, Texas agriculture commissioner, and in the Texas House of Representatives. In 2012, he campaigned for president on the platform that he would eliminate the U.S. Department of Energy, or DOE. And now he’s been picked to lead it.
Top reasons Rick Perry will pick profits over the planet
- Perry on climate change: It has “not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.”
Perry is a vocal climate denier who frequently questions the proven science behind it. During his 2012 bid for the presidency, he consistently ignored climate science and criticized efforts to fight global warming, calling it “hysteria” and “a contrived phony mess.” In his again-failed 2016 campaign for the Republican nomination for president, Perry once again ran on a platform of climate denial, claiming that, “calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice the country, and I believe a disservice to the world.” As he admits himself, he is “not a scientist.”
- As governor, Perry put the oil and gas industry over the people of Texas.
As governor of Texas, Perry maintained a political environment that served first and foremost the oil and gas industry—with low taxes and low regulation. He has been a large critic of President Barack Obama’s energy policies, including those that regulate emissions from the power sector, and what he views as attempts to squash pipeline development and offshore and onshore drilling.
After the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, declared carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas and dangerous threat to public health in 2009, Perry began a federal lawsuit to challenge the endangerment finding. He also called for Obama to lift the moratorium on new deep-water drilling and claimed that the BP oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico may have been an “act of God.”
Under his governorship, natural gas drilling increased 28 percent between 2000 and 2010, and he issued an executive order to fast track coal power plants.
- As energy secretary, Perry will first and foremost serve the oil and gas industry.
Rick Perry is now nominated to run the Department of Energy, which he once sought to scrap completely; he threatened to get rid of it, along with the departments of Commerce and Education, in 2011 during his campaign for president. This is not the first time Perry has waffled on a political stance—he is now apparently willing to serve in the administration of Donald Trump, a man whose candidacy he previously called “a cancer.”
Like Trump, Perry’s conflicts of interest run deep, especially with the oil and gas giants. Perry sits on the board of Energy Transfer Partners LP, the company behind the hotbed of protests, police violence, and encroachment on sovereign tribal land and rights at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Perry as DOE head would undermine science, turn back progress on climate change, and put the nation’s nuclear legacy in incapable hands.
Perry is a dangerous choice for a cabinet pick. The Department of Energy relies and thrives on scientific knowledge and reasoning. Putting Perry in charge of managing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, the nuclear waste sites that are the legacy of the Manhattan Project, and the country’s fundamental scientific research for energy and the physical sciences is the latest grave error in Trump’s judgment. Following last week’s nomination of a longtime EPA opponent Scott Pruitt to lead that agency, naming Perry to lead the DOE would undermine science, turn back progress on climate change, and put the nation’s nuclear legacy in incapable hands.
How to #ResistPerry
The secretary of energy must be confirmed by a majority of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a majority vote on the floor of the Senate. Some Republican senators—such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rob Portman (R-OH)—have indicated that they believe in climate change. But will they vote for an all-star climate denier to lead the DOE?
Call, write, or tweet:
- Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) at 202.224.6665
- John Barrasso (R-WY) at 202.224.6441
- James Risch (R-ID) at 202.224.2752
- Mike Lee (R-UT) at 202.224.5444
- Jeff Flake (R-AZ) at 202.224.4521
- Steve Daines (R-MT) at 202.224.2651
- Cory Gardner (R-CO) at 202.224.5941
- Jeff Sessions (R-AL) at 202.224.4124
- Lamar Alexander (R-TN) at 202.224.4944
- John Hoeven (R-ND) at 202.224.2551
- Bill Cassidy (R-LA) at 202.224.5824
- Rob Portman (R-OH) at 202.224.3353
and demand that they examine Perry’s legacy on the environment before deciding how they’ll vote.