Senate questions Secretary of Energy Nominee, Rick Perry

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January 19, 2017

Secretary of Energy nominee, Rick Perry, was questioned in a hearing by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on January 19. The Department of Energy (DOE) operates 17 national laboratories, manages the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and has 14,000 employees. Senators questioned Perry on topics such as his stance on climate change, his DOE research plans and priorities, and his management approach for our nation’s radioactive waste. 

In the hearing, Perry stated that human activity is responsible for a portion of climate change. During the hearing Perry said “I’m going to protect the men and women from the scientific community from anyone who would attack them, no matter what their reason may be.”

Perry did not lay out future plans for the DOE’s research budget, and is against following a national renewable energy portfolio standard. Perry instead prefers that the DOE assist states in crafting energy standards. 

If appointed, Perry would work to create energy solutions by promoting collaboration between DOE scientists, the private sector, and universities. Some energy solutions he proposes are raising coal power plants’ efficiency and increasing coal carbon capture and storage research.

Senators stated their concern on the future management of radioactive waste. If appointed, Perry pledged that he will work to identify temporary or permanent storage mechanisms for nuclear waste.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted to approve Perry’s nomination on January 31. The Senate voted to confirm Perry on March 2.

Source: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee