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Trump Announces Rick Perry to Lead Energy Department
12/16/2016 Energy Department Nicole H
keywords: Congress Executive Department Political Appointment

In a move not popular with environmental activists, President-elect Donald Trump has announced former Texas governor Rick Perry to be his choice to head the Energy Department. In the announcement, made Wednesday, December 7, Trump's transition team alarmed a number of environmental groups. Perry has been a champion for fossil fuels, rather than renewable energy, and some activists believe Perry will provide a platform for a debate about the validity of climate change research.

This move is also interesting, because when Perry was looking at the presidency in 2011, he could not remember the Department of Energy when debating in Michigan. After vowing to do away with the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education, he indicated there was a third department he wanted to remove, but could not remember it's name. This cost him the ability to run for office, and now he's going to be running the department.

Salo Zelermyer, senior counsel of the department under George W. Bush, believes Perry is a good choice because of the balanced approach he brings to environmental regulations. He believes Perry will be able to address the concerns of both sides in regards to energy, increasing domestic oil and gas production while also increasing renewable energy sources, because this is exactly what he did in Texas as governor.

So what has environmental groups upset about the nomination? Not only did Perry seem to forget all about the department in the debate, but he has also regularly questioned the scientific evidence indicating humans are contributing to climate change. In 2012 he said, "There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects."

Still, while he may say that he does not believe in climate change, actions speak louder than words, and his efforts have greatly increased wind power in Texas while he was at the help. In 2000 the state produced just 200 megawatts of wind energy, and that increased to 14,098 in 2014. it was Perry's support that caused the construction of transmission lines to make it easier to harness wind energy.

The Department of Energy is not just focused on energy savings technology and renewable energy sources. The department also maintains the nation's nuclear warheads and works to clean up nuclear waste sites. All national laboratories are run by the Energy Department, and it is responsible for setting appliance standards. Grants and loans for research on energy topics is also controlled by the department.

Will Perry be a good fit? Only time will tell, but the appointment has been made and will become official when Trump takes office in January.

Source: Nicole H

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