Cuellar endorses Perry for Energy Secretary
- Author: Aubrey Nash Jan 20, 2017,
Jan 20, 2017, 0:58
"After being briefed on so numerous vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination", he said in his opening remarks to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Perry, who comes from a political background rather than a strong scientific or policy one like his most recent predecessors, will also be charged with managing the nation's nuclear arsenal.
Rick Perry, today testified in his Senate confirmation hearing for energy secretary that he regretted once calling for the elimination of the agency, but deflected a question on whether budget cuts are in its future.
"I am committed to modernizing our nuclear stockpile, promoting and developing American energy in all forms, advancing the department's critical stance and technology mission and carefully disposing of nuclear waste", Perry said.
Perry even commented on climate change, saying he believes the "climate is changing" but advocated for finding solutions that don't impact the affordability of energy or result in fewer jobs.
Perry's senate confirmation hearing is set for Thursday, Jan. 19.
Current Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is a nuclear physicist who led technical negotiations in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, while the previous head, Steven Chu, is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. "I don't want that information", Perry said. Joe Manchin, who is in Perry's corner.
However, the Department of Energy spends most of its annual budget on something completely separate from fossil fuels: the nuclear arsenal.
Rick Perry once sought to abolish the department that he is now nominated to lead. The Minnesota Democrat began his questioning by thanking Perry for coming by to chat with him prior to his hearing. Numerous cuts involved getting rid of key organizations within the department, such as the Office of Electricity, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office of Fossil Energy.
It was the U.S. Department of Energy.
"I can't, the third", Perry finally conceded after stumbling for several seconds.
When Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii asked Perry about reported cuts proposed by the incoming Trump administration, Perry quipped, "Well, senator, maybe they will have the same experience I had and forget that they said that".
Electrical grid modernisation was also a priority, Perry said, along with creating cybersecurity barriers to protect American infrastrucutre from hacking.
Asked by Sen. Deborah Greer (D-Mich) how he'll run the DOE after these massive cuts she had just read about, Perry seemed perplexed. Like other nominees, he offered plenty of daylight between his own views and Trump's more outlandish statements, raising the specter of potential clashes between the White House and the Energy Department down the road.