Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas, is about to become the new energy secretary for the United States and he has no idea what the job entails — in fact, he tried to shut down the department before being elected to the role by President Trump.
The New York Times reports that Perry believes the role will help him champion the country’s oil and gas industry — which he has experience with during his time as governor.
As part of the job, Perry will be in charge of the nation’s $20 billion nuclear stockpile and overseeing national laboratories that form a major part of the government’s science remit.
It was reported that Perry wasn’t even aware that the role would include watching over America’s nuclear management, along with science and technology investments.
Perry at one point demanded the elimination of the Energy Department and is currently sitting in front of the Senate Energy Committee to secure the job.
In comparison to his lack of experience, his predecessor is Ernest Moniz, a chairman at MIT who directed the institutes linear accelerator. Before Moniz, the secretary was Steven Chu, a man who won a Nobel Prize. To his credit, Rick Perry did graduate in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in Animal science.
If he is chosen to oversee the department, Perry would be in charge of the US’ nuclear stockpile, as well as being in charge of refurbishing and maintaining it. The United States is currently spending over $1 trillion to create a highly secure network that will connect its entire nuclear arsenal.
In a scary moment, the department recently refused President-elect Donald Trump’s request to receive the name’s of all employees who have attended climate change meetings. Leaders at the organization said they will “respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence.”
To kick off his confirmation hearing Rick Perry started with an apology for his efforts to squash the department.
“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.