While seeking the 2012 Republican nomination, Governor Rick Perry famously proposed abolishing the Department of Energy before forgetting what it was called on live TV, naming it as “Oops” during the GOP debates. As luck would have it, however, Perry will be nominated as Secretary of Oops under President Donald Trump, CBS News reports.
Having a climate change skeptic like Perry as head of the Energy Department might sound bad, but the reality is arguably worse. Earlier this month, Trump’s transition team circulated a 74-item questionnaire at the department asking, among other things, which employees attended climate change conferences and when they were held. Democratic lawmakers immediately voiced concerns that such information would be used for retaliation under the new administration, a task that Perry—who has called global warming a “hysteria” supported by “doctored data”—seems well-suited to perform.
In addition, the agency subsidizes green energy projects with loans that Trump has called wasted tax dollars “on unproven technologies and risky companies.” While Trump can’t end the program without an act of Congress, Perry would be able to block the approval of any new loans as Energy Secretary.
Perhaps most troubling, however, is that one of the agency’s primary responsibilities is handling radioactive materials. Maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal, disposing of radioactive waste, and producing nuclear reactors would all fall under Perry. The man currently holding the position is a former nuclear physicist. The man next in line for the job was last seen Dancing With the Stars.