President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen former Texas. Gov. Rick Perry, to become the next Secretary of Energy.
Perry, a former Texas governor, twice-failed presidential candidate (2012 and 2016) — and failed Dancing With The Stars contestant, is perhaps most famous for declaring he wanted to eliminate the department he would now head under the next administration if the Senate confirms him.
His history of dealing with energy policy shows a pattern of support for fossil-fuel-based industries. Perry is a climate-change skeptic, has defended the Keystone XL pipeline and other fossil-fuel-related projects and sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for regulating carbon emissions.
Perry also sits on the board of directors for Energy Transfer Partners, the company that is trying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline through Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The project has been the subject of intense controversy, with almost daily clashes between police and protesters, who believe the pipeline is a threat to the reservation’s water supply and will disrupt ancient burial sites.
The Army Corps of Engineers recently refused an easement that would have allowed the project to continue, but the issue is surely destined to come up again.
Trump’s pick comes amid turmoil at the Department of Energy (DOE) resulting from questions about the future of clean-energy support under a Trump presidency.
The president-elect’s transition team has issued vague threats about clean-energy subsidies and most recently is circulating a questionnaire designed to collect the names of employees currently working on clean-energy and Climate-Change related projects.
U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), warned the Trump team about starting a “witch hunt” and advising the Trump Administration that it would be illegal to use any of the information that is collected is used to fire or discriminate against federal employees who worked on these issues.