Perry confirmed as US energy secretary
Former governor of Texas Rick Perry has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as secretary of energy, in a vote of 62 to 37.
Perry, who previously sought the 2012 and 2016 republican presidential nomination, advocated for the elimination of several federal agencies during his campaign, including the U.S. DOE.
During his confirmation hearing with the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in January, he said, "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."
While he lacks a scientific background, Republicans have pointed to Perry’s management skills as the foundation for his nomination—a 14-year stint as governor of Texas.
Several environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and National Resource Defense Council, have criticized Perry’s nomination, citing his ties to the fossil fuels industry and position on climate change.
Perry replaces Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist, and prior to Moniz, the position was held by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu.