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Perry unfit to serve as Secretary of Energy

Posted Mar. 2, 2017 / Posted by: Patrick Davis

Friends of the Earth objects to Perry’s climate change denial and glaring conflicts of interest

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate will soon vote on the confirmation of former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy. Perry, who as a candidate for the presidency called for the elimination of the DOE, has a history of denying climate change, and solicited millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during his time as governor and as a candidate for president.

Friends of the Earth Senior Strategic Advisor Damon Moglen offered the following response to Perry’s potential confirmation:

“Over the course of his career, Rick Perry has taken millions of dollars from the oil, gas and nuclear industries while pushing their dirty energy agenda. Perry has taken millions from Kelcy Warren, the CEO of the company responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and at least $1.2 million from the CEO of a nuclear waste storage company that now wants the DOE to allow them to ship highly radioactive waste through major cities and store it in a private, poorly-regulated facility in West Texas. Yet, Trump and the Senate have put him in charge of a department where he will be in a prime position to help his industry friends shred the environmental and public health protections currently in place.

“Unlike the preeminent physicists who ran the department for the last eight years, Perry lacks the knowledge and experience to run the DOE. The absurdity of trusting former-Gov. Perry to clean up the nation’s nuclear weapons facilities speaks to the clueless nature of the Trump administration. Should he steer the DOE on a course of climate denialism, push for expanded use of fossil fuels, or embrace the policies of the corrupt billionaire energy industry leaders who helped fund his political ambitions, we at Friends of the Earth will resist.”

Rick Perry is beholden to the oil and gas industry: The oil and gas industries have been the major donors to Perry’s campaigns over the years.

  • In his last governor’s race in 2010, Perry received an estimated $5.9 million from oil and gas interests according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • In his failed 2012 and 2016 presidential bids, he raised more than a million dollars from each of those same interests.

With those donations have come his consistent support for oil, gas and “clean coal,” and his repeated denial of the scientific consensus around climate change.

Rick Perry is beset with glaring conflicts of interest: As the incoming DOE Secretary, Rick Perry will be saddled with glaring conflicts of interest.

  • One of Perry’s largest financial backers is Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners (which owns the Dakota Access Pipeline). Warren gave $6 million to Perry’s failed presidential campaign in 2012 and made Perry a member of the Energy Transfer Partners Board of Directors.
  • Another major donor, was Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, who gave more than $1.2 million dollars in campaign contributions to Perry. Simmons owned Waste Control Specialists, a company that owned a controversial, private low-level nuclear waste dump that was supported by Perry and was licensed and opened while Perry was in governor. Waste Control Specialists is now applying for a new license to open up an “interim” storage site for highly radioactive nuclear waste from nuclear reactors around the country. The dump, which would be little more than a parking lot on which casks of the highly radioactive waste would have to be stored, would require both a change to the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act as well as the DOE specifically taking title of the waste from the nuclear reactor operators.

As DOE Secretary, Perry will conveniently have a great deal of control over both of those decisions.

Further Reading:

All Gov: “Secretary of Energy: Who is Rick Perry?” February 6, 2017

Mother Jones: “Will Rick Perry Privatize America’s Nuclear Waste Storage?” January 24, 2017  

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Expert contact: Damon Moglen, (202) 222-0708, dmoglen@foe.org
Communications contact: Patrick Davis (202) 222-0722 pdavis@foe.org

 

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