Rick Perry

Rick Perry

Credentials

  • Rick Perry graduated Texas A&M University in 1972. He majored in animal science.1Texas Governor Rick Perry,” Office of the Governor Rick Perry. Archived May 24, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Background

Former Texas Republican Governor James Richard (Rick) Perry was Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Energy, approved for the position in January 2017. He served as Secretary of Energy until stepping down late 2019.2Naveena Sadasivam. “Get Ready, America: Rick Perry’s Environmental and Energy Record is Awful,” The Texas Observer, December 14, 2016. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OfxYC 3Rick Perry confirmation vote: former Texas governor heads to full Senate,” CBS News, January 31, 2017. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Zg15Q 4Perry ends final day as Energy secretary,” The Hill, December 1, 2019. Archived January 3, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.ph/wip/NBl2u

Rick Perry served as the 47th governor of Texas, sworn in on December 21, 2000 and was elected to four-year terms in 2002, 2006, and 2010. Perry began his political career in 1985, working as a representative for a rural West Texas district in the state House of Representatives. He was elected to statewide office in 1990, and served as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture for two terms. Perry graduated Texas A&M University in 1972.5Texas Governor Rick Perry,” Office of the Governor Rick Perry. Archived May 24, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Following Rick Perry’s appointment by Donald Trump as Energy Secretary, Perry resigned from his position on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.6Patrick Svitek. “Rick Perry resigns from board of Dallas company building Dakota Access Pipeline,” The Texas Tribune, January 5, 2017. Archived January 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5CD69

In the past, Perry has said that global warming is an unproven scientific theory and that climate has changed since the Earth was formed. He has also opposed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suing the agency on the climate issue in 2010. He has also advocated to reduce restrictions on oil and gas drilling, saying that there is little proof that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) contaminates groundwater. Perry is the author of Fed Up!, a 2010 book where he speculated that the earth was “experiencing a cooling trend.”7Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8 8Forrest Wilder. “2012 was Hottest Year on Record for Texas, U.S.The Texas Observer, January 10, 2013. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/qYPLE

During his 14 years as governor, Texas filed 19 lawsuits agains the EPA. Perry has also called the EPA a “cemetery for jobs.”9Neon Satija. “Texas vs. the Feds — A Look at the Lawsuits,” The Texas Tribune, January 17, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/mfzqE

Rick Perry & the U.S. Energy Department

Rick Perry made what the Washington Post described as “the worst stumble of the presidential campaign” during a 2011 Republican presidential debate when he struggled to remember the name of the third federal agency he would eliminate if he became president (the Energy Department, which he now runs). Video below.10Amy Gardner and Philip Rucker. “Rick Perry stumbles badly in Republican presidential debate,” The Washington Post, November 10, 2011. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/saPkU

“It is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone,” he said, beginning to lay out one of the staples of his stump speech. “Commerce, Education, and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said.

“Commerce and, let’s see,” he continued. “I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”11Amy Gardner and Philip Rucker. “Rick Perry stumbles badly in Republican presidential debate,” The Washington Post, November 10, 2011. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/saPkU

In 2016, The New York Times (NYT) discussed Perry as the pick as Energy Secretary, noting that Perry would be heading a post that he once wanted to eliminate. NYT notes that the agency is far more devoted to national security than it is to the extraction of fossil fuels that is Perry’s expertise.12Coral Davenport. “Rick Perry, Ex-Governor of Texas, Is Trump’s Pick as Energy Secretary,New York Times, December 13, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Fo8Oa

“The Rick Perry choice is so perplexing,” said former Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, who previously led the committee that oversees the Energy Department’s budget.

“I think very few people understand that the Energy Department, to a very substantial degree, is dealing with nuclear weapons,” he said. “And Rick Perry suggested the agency should be abolished. That suggests he thinks it doesn’t have value.”13Coral Davenport. “Rick Perry, Ex-Governor of Texas, Is Trump’s Pick as Energy Secretary,New York Times, December 13, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Fo8Oa

Mother Jones noted a potential conflict of interest in Perry’s position on nuclear waste given his past association with Waste Control Specialists (WCS), a company eager to get in on interim storage for nuclear waste that applied for a license with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2016.14Ashley DeJean. “Will Rick Perry Privatize America’s Nuclear Waste Storage? Mother Jones, January 24, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ILglM

WCS had formerly lobbied the Texas legislature for six years in order to pass legislation that would allow private companies to be responsible for low-level nuclear waste. That legislation passed in 2003 and was signed by Perry. When WCS applied for a state license to handle waste, a panel of state engineers and geologists found in 2007 that groundwater contamination at the proposed disposal sate was “highly likely.”15Ashley DeJean. “Will Rick Perry Privatize America’s Nuclear Waste Storage? Mother Jones, January 24, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ILglM

Despite this, members on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (appointed by Perry) signed off on the license. Three staffers at the agency resigned in protest over the decision. “We knew from the beginning that this permit was intended to be issued,” Glenn Lewis, a member of the review panel, said in a 2011 interview with NPR.16Ashley DeJean. “Will Rick Perry Privatize America’s Nuclear Waste Storage? Mother Jones, January 24, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ILglM

Critics noted that Harold Simmons, since deceased, had been one of Perry’s largest financial contributors over the years, contributing over $1.3 million to his campaigns.17Ashley DeJean. “Will Rick Perry Privatize America’s Nuclear Waste Storage? Mother Jones, January 24, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ILglM

“Lo and behold, the company that lobbied to get the legislation passed and gave lots of political contributions was the only applicant, so it was a real corporate sweetheart deal,” Cyrus Reed of the Texas Sierra Club said.18Ashley DeJean. “Will Rick Perry Privatize America’s Nuclear Waste Storage? Mother Jones, January 24, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ILglM

Climate change denier Kathleen Hartnett-White, whom Perry appointed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2007, called Perry’s leadership “a win for the environment and a win for the economy.”19Neon Satija. “The Perry Legacy: Environment,” The Texas Tribune, December 28, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/aRfas

Energy Industry Connections

Some critics brought up potential conflicts of interest regarding Perry’s appointment at the Energy Department, noting he sat as a board member for two pipeline companies that are part of Energy Transfer, the group behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline among others in South Texas.20Sophia Stamas. “Some call Trump administration job conflict of interest for Perry,” CBS Austin, December 13, 2016. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/NSHPE 21Leif Reigstad. “Examining Rick Perry’s and Rex Tillerson’s Potential Conflicts of Interest,” Texas Monthly, December 19, 2016. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iJlit

“I don’t know if you could have a worse pick for Secretary of Energy than a person who is so much in bed with the fossil fuel energy sector,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of Texas Campaign for the Environment.

Rick Perry has received more than $11 million from 1998 to 2010 in campaign contributions from the Oil and Gas industry. Top oil and energy industry contributors include $189,188 from ExxonMobil, $147,895 from Valero Energy, and $116,000 from Koch Industries.22Naveena Sadasivam. “Get Ready, America: Rick Perry’s Environmental and Energy Record is Awful,” The Texas Observer, December 14, 2016. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OfxYC 23Brad Johnson. “Rick Perry Is Big Oil’s Million Man,” ThinkProgress, August 15, 2011. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Sqb1o

In February, 2015, Rick Perry was named a board member of Energy Transfer Partners. DeSmog reported that while Perry promised he would not publicly advocate for the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa, he had already promoted the pipeline just two days prior to his appointment on the board of the company. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren, a major donor who contributed $250,000 to Perry’s 2012 presidential super PAC, was on the advisory board of Rick PAC which helped fund Perry’s 2016 presidential campaign. Warren contributed a total of $6 million to Super PACs supporting Perry.24Steve Horn. “Facing Felony Charges, Rick Perry Joins Board of Energy Transfer Partners, Owner of Proposed Oil Pipeline Across Iowa,” DeSmog, February 6, 2015.

Rick Perry & The EPA

Rick Perry sued the EPA multiple times between 2009 and 2011. When 17 states sued the EPA over new regulations that would control global warming, Texas was the only state to pursue an “unfriendly” approach, as described by the National Journal. While other states simultaneously worked on plans of compliance with the EPA in case their lawsuits fell through, Texas was the only state that did not opt for what experts described as the “friendly FIP [federal implementation program].” Perry made it clear that Texas would not comply.25Coral Davenport. “Rick Perry’s Air War,” National Journal, September 10, 2011. Archived October 21, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RBjdC

Talking with The Texas Observer, Ken Kramer of the Sierra Club compared Perry with George W. Bush’s time as governor:26Forrest Wilder. “Examining Rick Perry’s Environmental Record,” The Texas Observer, September 6, 2011. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ssICr

“I never felt that Bush was anti-environmental so much as clueless about the environment,” said Kramer. “I see Perry as more proactively carrying out an anti-environmental agenda primarily for political purposes.”

Perry said that, in suing the EPA, the state was “defend[ing] Texas’s freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach.”27Naveena Sadasivam. “Get Ready, America: Rick Perry’s Environmental and Energy Record is Awful,” The Texas Observer, December 14, 2016. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OfxYC

Stance on Climate Change

January, 2017

Speaking in prepared testimony on global warming, Perry said:28Reena Flores. “Rick Perry regrets push to eliminate Energy Department,” CBS News, January 19, 2017. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YYi1u

“I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by man-made activity.”

“The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy or American jobs,” he added.29Reena Flores. “Rick Perry regrets push to eliminate Energy Department,” CBS News, January 19, 2017. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/YYi1u

Dallas News reports that he said flatly that “climate is changing” and that some of the cause is human activity.30Tom Benning. “Rick Perry clears first hurdle to becoming energy secretary, signalling easy confirmation,” Dallas News, January 31, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/04TiT

June 2014

Speaking with reporters at a hotel near the White House, Rick Perry criticized Obama’s policies on climate change and cutting carbon emissions. Speaking of oil and gas exploration, including the Keystone pipeline, Perry said:31Todd J. Gillman. “In DC, Gov. Rick Perry talks 2016, Ted Cruz, climate change, border security,” Dallas News, June, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iSogp

“I don’t believe that we have the settled science by any sense of the imagination to stop that kind of economic opportunity.”32Todd J. Gillman. “In DC, Gov. Rick Perry talks 2016, Ted Cruz, climate change, border security,” Dallas News, June, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iSogp

Perry also said that reducing the use of coal would “strangle our economy.”33Todd J. Gillman. “In DC, Gov. Rick Perry talks 2016, Ted Cruz, climate change, border security,” Dallas News, June, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iSogp

“Calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice the country, and I believe a disservice to the world,” he said.34Todd J. Gillman. “In DC, Gov. Rick Perry talks 2016, Ted Cruz, climate change, border security,” Dallas News, June, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iSogp

“I’m not a scientist,” he said. But “short term, I’m substantially more concerned about Iran changing the temperature of New York,” he said, alluding to potential nuclear conflict.35Todd J. Gillman. “In DC, Gov. Rick Perry talks 2016, Ted Cruz, climate change, border security,” Dallas News, June, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/iSogp

September 7, 2011

Speaking at the 2012 Republican presidential debate, Rick Perry said climate change science was “not settled”:36The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library,The New York Times, September 7, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5b0pt

“Well, I do agree that there is – the science is – is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at – at – at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just – is nonsense. I mean, it – I mean – and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.37The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library,The New York Times, September 7, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5b0pt

But the fact is, to put America’s economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.”38The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library,The New York Times, September 7, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5b0pt

Responding to a followup question on whether there were “specific scientists or specific theories that you’ve found especially compelling,” Perry said:39The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library,The New York Times, September 7, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5b0pt

“Let me tell you what I find compelling, is what we’ve done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade. Nitrous oxide levels, down by 57 percent. Ozone levels down by 27 percent.40The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library,The New York Times, September 7, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5b0pt

That’s the way you need to do it, not by some scientist somewhere saying, “Here is what we think is happening out there.” The fact of the matter is, the science is not settled on whether or not the climate change is being impacted by man to the point where we’re going to put America’s economics in jeopardy.”41The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library,The New York Times, September 7, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5b0pt

August 2011

Speaking to an audience of voters in Bedford, N.H., Rick Perry claimed that global warming was an unproven theory and that scientists had been manipulating data:42Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8

We are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate’s changed — they’ve been changing ever since the Earth was formed.”43Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8

Without referencing sources, Perry said that implementing “anti-carbon programs” would cost billions of dollars.44Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8

“I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on what is still a scientific theory that hasn’t been proven, and from my perspective is more and more being put into question,” he said.45Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8

Again, without citing sources, Perry claimed:46Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8

“[T]here are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”47Maeve Reston. “Rick Perry calls global warming an unproven, costly theory,” Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/9L5Q8

2010

The Washington Post reported that Perry’s book Fed Up! outlined a number of his views on climate change, where he mentioned things like “doctored data” and “so-called science.”48Washington Post Editorial: Perry is no champion of science,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 15, 2016. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RQPVw

“It’s all one contrived phoney mess that is falling apart under its own weight,” he declared. “Al Gore is a prophet all right, a false prophet of a secular carbon cult.”

According to The Texas Observer, Perry also speculated that the planet was “experiencing a cooling trend.”49Forrest Wilder. “2012 was Hottest Year on Record for Texas, U.S.The Texas Observer, January 10, 2013. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/qYPLE

Key Quotes

March 7, 2018

During his speech at CERA Week Perry claimed it was “immoral” for poor nations to pivot away from fossil fuels:50Rick Perry touts ‘new direction’ for energy policy based on Obama-era achievements,” ThinkProgress, March 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bBsms

“Look those people in the eyes that are starving and tell them you can’t have electricity,” Perry said in his speech. “Because as a society we decided fossil fuels were bad. I think that is immoral.”51Rick Perry touts ‘new direction’ for energy policy based on Obama-era achievements,” ThinkProgress, March 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bBsms

January 2017

In 2017, after being chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the Department of Energy, Perry said that he regretted his previous statements about eliminating the very department he sought to lead. In his confirmation hearing, Perry said:52Michael Collins. “Rick Perry: I’ve changed my mind about eliminating Energy Dept.” USA Today, January 19, 2017. Archived January 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/VL237#selection-5007.0-5007.63 53What we learned from Rick Perry’s confirmation hearing,” The Hill, January 19, 2017. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bOJHg

“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said during his confirmation hearing. “In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

February 27, 2015

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Rick Perry said that he cares about “real pollution,” but not about reducing carbon dioxide emissions. He said Texas “decreased our nitrogen oxide levels, which by the way is real. It’s a real emission. He then highlighted emissions reductions that took place while he was governor. “Our carbon dioxide levels were down, whether you believe in this whole climate change concept or not,” he said.54Rebecca Leber. “Rick Perry: I Care About ‘Real’ Pollution, Not Climate Change,” New Republic, February 27, 2015. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/eTppB

December 18, 2011

Rick Perry reacted after a student questioned his support for fracking during an event in Decorah, Iowa, Politico reported:55Patrick Reis. “House to reject Senate Keystone, payroll pact – Utility MACT on tap this week – Rig sinks off Russian coast – Industry angry over GOP’s light bulb bluster,” Politico, December 19, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nImVW

“We can have this conversation, but you cannot show me one place — not one! — where there is a proven pollution of groundwater by hydraulic fracturing,” Perry told 22-year-old Carrie Kaufmann, a student at Luther College. “I am truly offended that the American public would be hoodwinked by stories that do not scientifically hold up.”

October 12, 2011

Speaking to a crowd of Hoosier State Republicans, Perry accused the Obama administration of pursuing an “activist agenda”:56Michael Conroy. “Perry gives Indiana audience a preview of his energy proposal,” CBS News, October 12, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nUnFL

“The next economic boom is right under our feet. Our own oil resources alone are vast enough to meet the next 300 years of energy demand at today’s levels,” he said. “… And what has been this administration’s response to our energy potential? They’ve thrown up every bureaucratic obstacle possible in order to advance an activist agenda.”57Michael Conroy. “Perry gives Indiana audience a preview of his energy proposal,” CBS News, October 12, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nUnFL

September, 2011

Speaking with a Tea Party group, Rick Perry described the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “cemetery for jobs”:58Rick Perry: EPA is ‘cemetery for jobs’,” YouTube video uploaded by user League of Conservation Votors, September 12, 2011. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

”[…] EPA, we don’t need you monkeying around and fiddling around and getting in our business on every kind of regulation that you can dream up. You’re doing nothing more than killing jobs. It is a cemetery for jobs, at the EPA.”59Rick Perry: EPA is ‘cemetery for jobs’,” YouTube video uploaded by user League of Conservation Votors, September 12, 2011. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

September, 2006

In a September 2006 op-ed, Rick Perry accused an “extreme element of the environmental community” for opposing coal plants:60Support for Sustainable Energy,” Office of the Governor Rick Perry, September 8, 2006. Archived June 24, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/PMWNu

“ I would argue they want to return us to the era of horse and buggy except they would probably complain about the methane gas from horse manure, too,” Perry wrote.61Support for Sustainable Energy,” Office of the Governor Rick Perry, September 8, 2006. Archived June 24, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/PMWNu

2010

The Texas Observer notes that in his book Fed Up!, Perry (or his ghostwriter) writes:62Forrest Wilder. “Examining Rick Perry’s Environmental Record,” The Texas Observer, September 6, 2011. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ssICr

“EPA in particular illustrates how Washington’s command-and-control environmental bureaucracy is destroying federalism and individuals’ ability to make their own economic decisions.”63Forrest Wilder. “Examining Rick Perry’s Environmental Record,” The Texas Observer, September 6, 2011. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ssICr

Key Deeds

January 2020

Following his resignation as Secretary of Energy in December 2019, as of a January 2020 SEC filing, Perry joined the board of directors of Energy Transfer LP. The company Energy Transfer, formerly known as Energy Transfer Partners, is behind controversial projects including Dakota Access, Bayou Bridge, and Mariner East. Perry had been on the board of the company prior to joining the Trump administration.64Form 8-K for ENERGY TRANSFER LP. US Securities and Exchange Commission, January 1, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 65Sharon Kelly. “Breaking: Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry Rejoins Board of Dakota Access Owner, Energy Transfer,” DeSmog, January 3, 2020. 66Sharon Kelly. “Energy Transfer: New Name for Pipeline Company But Same Spills and Violence Against Protesters, Says Greenpeace Report,” DeSmog, October 24, 2019.

August 13, 2019

Perry appeared in a Nature Communications article that ranked 386 “climate change contrarians” based on media visibility. The article also ranked bona fide climate scientists and found that deniers had nearly 50% more visibility in the media than mainstream scientists.67Alexander Michael Petersen, Emmanuel M. Vincent, Anthony LeRoy Westerling. “Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians,” Nature Communications, August 13, 2019. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/WC84u. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Perry was ranked #3 among other noted deniers, including Marc Morano (#1), Sen. James Inhofe, Judith Curry, Freeman Dyson, Ross McKitrick, Steven Hayward, John Hinderaker, and Roy Spencer.68Alexander Michael Petersen, Emmanuel M. Vincent, Anthony LeRoy Westerling. “Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians,” Nature Communications, August 13, 2019. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/WC84u. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

June 24, 2019

Nearly 100 internal documents were leaked to Axios in 2019. As Axios reported, the documents identified a host of “red flags” about many individuals who would go on to work in the Trump administration, as well as others who were considered but failed to secure a position.69Full list: The leaked Trump transition vetting documents,” Axios, June 24, 2019. Archived June 24, 2019. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/gm9i7

Perry was listed among the documents. Some notable samples from the internal documents below:

“Background: In 2014, Perry was indicted on two felony of abuse of power charges stemming from accusations that he vetoed $7.5 million in state funding for the public integrity unit in an act of revenge over a political enemy. Perry was later cleared of all charges.”

“Conflicts of Interest; Background: Perry has either part ownership or is involved with a number of domestic energy companies.”

“In July 2015, Perry Called Trump ‘A Cancer On Conservatism,’ Saying ‘We Will Be No Better Off With A Republican Divider In The White House Than The Current Democrat Divider In The White House.’ […] ‘Let no one be mistaken Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”

“Perry Described Trumpism As ‘A Toxic Mix Of Demagoguery, Mean-Spiritedness, And Nonsense That Will Lead The Republican Party To Perdition.’”

“Perry Said Trump Was ‘A Sower Of Division, Wrongly Demonizing Mexican-Americans For Political Sport.’”

“Perry Said That Trump Was ‘The Modern-Day Incarnation Of The Know-Nothing Movement,’ Espousing ‘Nativism, Not Conservatism.’”

“Perry Said Trump If Trumpism ‘Metastasize[d],’ It Would Send The Republican Party To ‘The Graveyard.’”

“In A July 18, 2015 Facebook Post, Perry That ‘Donald J. Trump’s Reprehensible Comments Today About John McCain’s POW Service Make Him Unfit To Be Commander –In-Chief & He Should Immediately Withdraw From The Presidential Race.’”

“A 2014 Audit By The State Auditor Found The ‘Texas Enterprise Fund Doled Out Hundreds Of Millions In Taxpayer Dollars To Businesses And Universities That Never Even Formally Applied For The Funds.’”

“In October 2009, Perry Billed The State $12,321 For Security Costs For A Trip To Las Vegas To Attend His Son’s Bachelor Party And Visit With A Republican Candidate For Governor.”

“During His Time In Government Service, Perry Has Profited From Insider Real Estate Tips From Supporters.”

“In 2001, Perry Bought A Plot Of Land For Far Below Market Value From A Prominent Supporter And Then Sold The Land Six Years Later To An Associate Of The Supporter For Far Above Market Price.”70Full list: The leaked Trump transition vetting documents,” Axios, June 24, 2019. Archived June 24, 2019. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/gm9i7

March 16, 2018

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Perry said he didn’t plan on leaving his post at the Department of Energy to replace Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.71Daily on Energy: Perry says renewables are part of his energy agenda,” Washington Examiner, March 16, 2018. Archived March 17, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/nIO0o 72Embattled VA secretary: ‘I deeply regret’ distractions at agency,” CNN, March 15, 2018. Archived March 17, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/g97RS

“The president knows I like where I am,” Perry said. “He knows that we have done a really good job of keeping this agency focused, particularly in those areas he is interested in: selling American, running an agency effectively.”

Perry said he and President Trump had discussed a range of issues, but did not talk about changing jobs.

“We talked about a lot of different things,” Perry said. “What he didn’t talk about was me changing jobs. I know there is a lot of interest in that in the last 48 to 72 hours.”

During the Washington Post interview, Perry became defensive when the topic of wind and solar power came up and he was asked about advancing coal:

“We’re not here just to promote the fossil fuels,” Perry said. “We’re here to promote wind, and solar, and hydro, and maybe some forms of energy that we haven’t even dreamed up yet.”

“But for the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are going to play a really important role, not just in America, but in the world,” he said.

March 7, 2018

Perry was a speaker at CERA Week, an annual energy conference in Houston, Texas that attracts a range of energy company executives and leaders of oil producing countries. During his speech, Perry touted “enery realism,” ThinkProgress reported.73Rick Perry touts ‘new direction’ for energy policy based on Obama-era achievements,” ThinkProgress, March 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bBsms

“We don’t need to choose between growing our economy and caring for our environment,” he said. “That is at the heart of this new energy realism.”74Rick Perry touts ‘new direction’ for energy policy based on Obama-era achievements,” ThinkProgress, March 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bBsms

According to Perry, “clean” fossil fuels are the future, and a focus on renewables isn’t the answer. “Listen, we support renewables,” he told the audience, but suggested that the focus under the Paris agreement was not the right approach. “What are we supposed to do in the meantime?” he asked, pointing to projections that fossil fuels aren’t going anywhere soon.75Rick Perry touts ‘new direction’ for energy policy based on Obama-era achievements,” ThinkProgress, March 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bBsms

During his speech, Perry claimed it was “immoral” for poor nations to pivot away from fossil fuels.76Rick Perry touts ‘new direction’ for energy policy based on Obama-era achievements,” ThinkProgress, March 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bBsms

September 29, 2017

Perry pushed for sent a proposed rule to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to speed the approval of a proposal which would ensure that nuclear and coal plants received compensation for the “resilience” they give to the power grid,The Washington Examiner reported.77John Siciliano. “Rick Perry urges FERC protect coal, nuclear power plants,” The Washington Examiner, September 29, 2017. Archived September 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/qdPEl

“A reliable and resilient electrical grid is critical not only to our national and economic security, but also to the everyday lives of American families,” Perry said in a letter accompanying the rule. “A diverse mix of power generation resources, including those with on-site reserves, is essential to the reliable delivery of electricity — particularly in times of supply stress such as recent natural disasters. My proposal will strengthen American energy security by ensuring adequate reserve resource supply and I look forward to the Commission acting swiftly on it.”

Representatives from the coal industry approved Perry’s move.78John Siciliano. “Rick Perry urges FERC protect coal, nuclear power plants,” The Washington Examiner, September 29, 2017. Archived September 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/qdPEl

“We urge FERC to act swiftly on this important proposal,” said Hal Quinn, the president of the National Mining Association. “Secretary Perry’s action today is a long-overdue and necessary step to address the vulnerability of America’s energy grid.”

Advocates for both natural gas and renewables were critical of Perry’s proposal:79David Koenig. “Administration favors change in electricity pricing,” SFGate, September 29, 2017. Archived October 2, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/jm2ny

“We worry today’s proposal would upend competitive markets that save consumers billions of dollars a year,” said Amy Farrell, a senior vice president for American Wind Energy Association.

Don Santa of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America said the plan would favor “a very limited set of fuels and technologies.”

June 19, 2017

In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Rick Perry said that he doesn’t believe man-made CO2 emissions are a primary driver of climate change.80Energy Secretary Rick Perry says CO2 is not the main driver of climate change,” CNBC, June 19, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ac4Mo

Asked if carbon doixide was the main driver, Perry replied:81Energy Secretary Rick Perry says CO2 is not the main driver of climate change,” CNBC, June 19, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ac4Mo

“No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

“The fact is this shouldn’t be a debate about, ‘Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?” he added.82Energy Secretary Rick Perry says CO2 is not the main driver of climate change,” CNBC, June 19, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ac4Mo

The Washington Post notes that Perry’s comments echo those of and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, who also said he didn’t believe CO2 was a major driver of climate change on the program in March.83Steve Mufson. “Rick Perry just denied that humans are the main cause of climate change,” The Washington Post, June 19, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/x5ZhU

“Both men’s views contradict the conclusions of scientists at Pruitt’s own EPA as well as NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” the Post adds.84Steve Mufson. “Rick Perry just denied that humans are the main cause of climate change,” The Washington Post, June 19, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/x5ZhU

ThinkProgress also covered Perry’s announcement, accusing CNBC’s host of having “failed to perform the most basic fact checking,”and writing that “Perry’s denial of the role of CO2 in global warming is wrong, according to science.”85Joe Romm, “CNBC allows Rick Perry to spout nonsense on live TV without any fact checking,” ThinkProgress, June 19, 2017. Archived June 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XRNuT

January 19, 2017

Rick Perry attended his confirmation hearing for his position to lead the U.S. Department of Energy where he addressed questions about his previous statements about eliminating the very department he sought to lead. Full video below.86WATCH LIVE: Rick Perry confirmation hearing,” YouTube Video uploaded by user PBS NewsHour, January 19, 2017.

Perry said that he regretted his past statements about the department:87Michael Collins. “Rick Perry: I’ve changed my mind about eliminating Energy Dept.” USA Today, January 19, 2017. Archived January 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/VL237#selection-5007.0-5007.63 88What we learned from Rick Perry’s confirmation hearing,” The Hill, January 19, 2017. Archived February 1, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/bOJHg

“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said during his confirmation hearing. “In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

August 15, 2014

Rick Perry was indicted by a Travis Country grand jury (PDF) for two charges: The first was abuse of official capacity for threatening to veto $7.5 million in funding for the Public Integrity Unit. The second charge was coercion of a public servant, for seeking the resignation of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Perry pleaded not guilty to both charges, and has since been cleared on all charges.89“INDICTMENT: Count I – Abuse of Official Capacity 39.02 DPS 23990064…” (PDF), Retrieved from Cnn.com. Archived July 17, 2014. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 90Arlene Saenz. “Rick Perry Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Charges,” ABCNews, August 30, 2014. Archived August 30, 2014. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/U1rbD 91Angela Morris. “Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Dismisses Former Governor Rick Perry’s Criminal Case,” Texas Lawyer, February 24, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/xaHJj

June 23-26, 2011

In his capacity as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Rick Perry was an attendee of the Koch brothers‘ private retreat at the Bachelor Gulch.92Perry, McDonnell at latest Koch summit,” Politico. Republished by Seattle pi, June 27, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

According to Perry’s spokesman, Mark Miner, Perry “discussed the need to elect more Republican Governor’s around the country.” Miner said that “This was no different than other speeches the governor gives talking about job creation and the economy in Texas.” He added that Perry “flew on a private plane and no taxpayer dollars were used.”93Perry, McDonnell at latest Koch summit,” Politico. Republished by Seattle pi, June 27, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

April, 2006

Mother Jones reported, in an article titled “Rick Perry’s Dirty Deals With Big Coal,” that Perry signed an executive order to fast-track the approval of new coal-fired power plants in Texas. The order shortened the process that previously took several years to a matter of months. At the same time, “Perry was raking in tens of thousands of dollars in donations from TXU,” the largest utility and CO2-emitter in the state.94Andy Kroll. “Rick Perry’s Dirty Deals With Big Coal,” Mother Jones, September 21, 2011. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/x2DZ1

“Perry is very pro-coal, and will bend over backward to do whatever the coal industry asks of him,” said Tom Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “He’s the longest ongoing natural disaster in Texas history.”

The Texas Observer noted that on the same day that Perry issued the order, retired TXU chairman Erle Nye gave $2,000 to Perry’s campaign while TXU sources donated a total of $104,000 to Perry during his 2006 re-election bid. Between 2001 and 2011, Perry took more than $630,000 in contributions from TXU.95Forrest Wilder. “Examining Rick Perry’s Environmental Record,” The Texas Observer, September 6, 2011. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ssICr 96Naveena Sadasivam. “Get Ready, America: Rick Perry’s Environmental and Energy Record is Awful,” The Texas Observer, December 14, 2016. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OfxYC

Only three of the proposed 11 powerplants were eventually built.97Naveena Sadasivam. “Get Ready, America: Rick Perry’s Environmental and Energy Record is Awful,” The Texas Observer, December 14, 2016. Archived January 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OfxYC

April 2014

In 2014, Perry wrote a letter to the Texas House urging lawmakers “to develop a Texas solution for the long-term resolution of [high-level waste] currently residing inside our borders.”98Forrest Wilder. “Is Rick Perry Cheerleading for a Nuclear Trans-Texas Corridor?The Texas Observer, April 4, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/BK0Nq

While he did not specify Waste Control Specialists in the letter, he did mention to a local tv station that there was “a legitimate site in West Texas.”99Forrest Wilder. “Is Rick Perry Cheerleading for a Nuclear Trans-Texas Corridor?The Texas Observer, April 4, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/BK0Nq

“Sure. I think there are a couple of sites in the State of Texas that the local communities actively are pursuing that possibility,” Perry told KCBD.100Forrest Wilder. “Is Rick Perry Cheerleading for a Nuclear Trans-Texas Corridor?The Texas Observer, April 4, 2014. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/BK0Nq

In addition to the letter, Perry forwarded a 49-page report by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, outlining storage options for high-level nuclear waste in Texas.101“Assessment of Texas’s High Level Radioactive Waste Storage Options,” Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“Finding a site that has local and state support would greatly enhance the chance of a private centralized interim storage site being successfully sited and constructed,” the report concludes.102“Assessment of Texas’s High Level Radioactive Waste Storage Options,” Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

2003

Rick Perry signed a bill to privatize nuclear waste disposal in Texas. The legislation was tailored for Waste Control Specialists, a company owned by Harold Simmons, a Dallas billionare (now deceased) who was also one of Perry’s largest financial supporters over the years. A panel of eight sate employees reviewed a disposal site proposed by WCS, working for for years to make their report. However they said that they knew the permit would be issued regardless of their findings:103Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

“We knew from the beginning that this permit was intended to be issued,” said Glenn Lewis, who was on the panel. “The realization that Harold Simmons was a top campaign contributor to Gov. Perry,” Lewis said.104Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

The panel, still, found that the waste site should not be buried so close to large aquifers:105Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

“I am frankly surprised even now that a team of engineers and geologists, knowing what the political expectations were, still worked up the nerve to say, ‘No, it’s not safe,’ ” Lewis said.106Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

WCS had their license approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. All three commissions on the panel had been appointed by Perry, and they chose to ignore the environmental review.107Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

One commissioner, Larry Soward, said that there were numerous complaints and that a call for a public hearing had been denied by the other commissioners.108Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

“They voted to issue the license without sending it to a hearing, and I voted against that,” Soward said. “I think that generations to come are going to have a real problem from that site that they’re going to have to deal with,” he added.109Peter Overby. “Perry Donor’s Radioactive Waste Site Deal Scrutinized,” NPR, September 15, 2011. Archived February 7, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Wlhp2

Also in 2003, Perry also signed a bill making permanent a tax break for “high cost” natural gas.110Jim Malewitz and Kiah Collier. “Rick Perry’s energy legacy is more complicated than you think,” The Texas Tribune, December 13, 2016. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Z21Ar

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