Senate confirms Rick Perry as energy secretary

New York, March 3 (IANS) The Senate on Thursday confirmed former Texas Governor Rick Perry as President Donald Trump’s energy secretary.

With a 62-37 vote, Perry comes to the Department of Energy after serving for 15 years as the governor of the US state with the greatest production of hydrocarbons, Efe news agency reported.

The 66-year-old Perry, who governed from 2000-2015, was one of Trump’s rivals in the Republican presidential primaries, but he withdrew from the race early after he was unable to garner sufficient support in the voter surveys.

Trump has expressed skepticism on numerous occasions about the effects of climate change and is dismantling many of the environmental protection measures implemented by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Along those lines, one of his first moves upon arriving in the White House was to unblock the construction of two large oil pipelines – the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL — that the Obama administration had frozen.

During his confirmation hearings, Perry had said that he is committed to modernizing the US nuclear arsenal, promoting and developing US energy in all areas, moving forward on basic science and technology in the energy field and carefully disposing of nuclear waste.

In an embarrassing incident during the 2012 Republican presidential primary debates, in which he participated, Perry attempted to list three federal agencies he said he considered unnecessary, but he forgot the third one: the Department of Energy.

During his time as governor, Perry — benefitting from generally high oil prices — presided over a surge in the state economy, job growth and business creation based on tax incentives.

Married and the father of two, Perry left the governor’s mansion with a popularity rating of 60 percent, albeit amid uncertainty over the plunge in the price of crude.