December 13, 2016

Science Group Offers Mixed Reaction to Perry Energy Secretary Nomination

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (December 13, 2016)—Texas Governor Rick Perry is President-elect Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Energy.

Below is a statement on this nomination by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 “The Department of Energy has the critical responsibilities of maintaining our nuclear weapons stockpile and responsibly managing the resulting radioactive waste, tasks with which Governor Perry has little experience. The agency also plays an important role in advancing national energy policy, an area where he has a lot to contribute. 

“However, the fact that Governor Perry refuses to accept the broad scientific consensus on climate change calls into question his fitness to head up a science-based agency like DOE. His nomination only adds to concerns ignited last week by a questionnaire Trump’s transition team sent to DOE aimed at ferreting out employees focused on climate-related agency work. But there’s also reason for cautious optimism. 

“As governor of Texas, Mr. Perry saw the job creation and business opportunity provided by clean energy, helping to turn Texas into the national leader in wind power. In fact, he increased the ambition of the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, directed state funds to innovative wind energy R&D initiatives, and created a ‘Competitive Renewable Energy Zone’ that helped expand transmission of renewables, bringing clean wind energy from rural communities to new state markets. 

 “We hope as DOE secretary, Governor Perry builds on the successful work currently underway at the agency in areas like grid modernization, energy efficiency, and clean energy finance. Most important is that he supports the agency’s critical work on clean energy R&D, which has helped create jobs by improving the cost and performance of renewable energy technologies, and help develop and commercialize new, innovative clean energy technologies.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.