Tribe pledges to stop Trump's actions on Dakota pipeline
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Mr. Perry, a former rival of Mr. Trump in the Republican primary, once advocated for eliminating the agency.
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lead the Energy Department, according to two transition officials, selecting a climate-change skeptic who led the nation’s biggest energy-producing state for nearly 15 years. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Perry would add a steadfast conservative politician to Mr. Trump’s cabinet and would lead a sprawling agency that safeguards the country’s nuclear arsenal and directs federal research on energy technologies. Mr. Perry has mounted two failed presidential campaigns, including as a rival to Mr. Trump in the last primaries, before dropping out early. He faced ridicule in 2011 after forgetting, during a debate, that the Energy Department was one of three federal agencies he promised to eliminate were he elected president. Mr. Perry listed the Education and Commerce departments, before drawing a blank on Energy and saying, “Oops.” A few minutes later Mr. Perry belatedly added, “By the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago,” but the moment effectively ended his campaign. In 2015 Mr. Trump mocked Mr. Perry for beginning to wear spectacles “so people will think he’s smart,” adding, “It just doesn’t work. You know, people can see through the glasses.”
This fall, Mr. Perry competed on “Dancing with the Stars,” the popular U.S. dance competition show that airs on ABC. He and partner Emma Slater were the second of the 13 couples eliminated in the show’s 23rd season.
Mr. Perry has been a reliable backer of GOP energy policies, supporting the Keystone XL pipeline and other priorities of the oil and natural gas industries. Perhaps more than other Republicans, though, he has also shown he backs renewable energy, in particular wind. In 2005 as governor, Mr. Perry signed legislation that required Texas to dramatically increase its dependence on renewable energy. Along with being the biggest producer of both oil and natural gas, Texas also produces the most wind energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department. Mr. Perry also embraces a common Republican line questioning the scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to climate change. In a debate during his recent presidential run, Mr. Perry said he doesn’t think “the science is settled” on climate change, criticizing “the idea that we would put Americans’ economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that is not settled yet.”
Although Mr. Perry has presided over the biggest-energy producing state, much of his focus over the years has been on other issues, including immigration. In an official biography posted on Mr. Perry’s website, he touts his work as governor protecting the border and creating jobs. The Energy Department was created under President Jimmy Carter following the 1973 oil crisis, but its highest-profile responsibility is overseeing the nation’s nuclear arsenal. One of its agencies, the National Nuclear Security Administration, is tasked with maintaining a safe nuclear stockpile without testing and reducing threat of global nuclear proliferation. More than half of the Energy Department’s annual budget of around $30 billion goes to protecting the nuclear arsenal and cleaning up nuclear waste and contamination sites around the U.S. The department does oversee areas like the reliability of the electric grid, but the Environmental Protection Agency has been a bigger flashpoint for many hot-button energy issues in recent years.
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