Rick Perry is apparently Donald Trump’s choice for Energy Secretary. That’s actually Trump’s least terrible choice so far.
In Texas, Perry actually doesn’t have a horrible record on energy like the education secretary has on education or the HUD choice has on housing or the national security advisor has on reality.
While Perry was governor of Texas, Texas became the No. 1 producer of wind energy. Wind produces more than 12 percent of electricity in Texas and is responsible for 20,000 local jobs. Texas has more than 40 wind farms mostly located in counties with small populations in West Texas. One wind farm is located along the Gulf Coast with three others proposed or under construction.
The first wind farm in Texas was built in 2000 while George Bush was governor, but wind generation capacity more than quintupled during Perry’s first year in office.
And unlike Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA pick who’s suing the EPA, Perry doesn’t deny Irving and several other places in North Texas are suddenly having earthquakes. While even Oklahoma’s governor has called for a temporary halt to fracking as that state has had more and more severe earthquakes, Pruitt isn’t buying it.
And unlike Perry’s fellow Texan, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, who worked hard to quash shareholder initiatives to make sure his company only provided benefits to its straight, married employees for 16 years, Perry actually signed the James Byrd Hates Crimes Bill into law in 2001. Bush vetoed that bill once and worked with the legislature to block it through several sessions. Tillerson took benefits away from LGBT employees acquired in the Mobil takeover in 1999 and refused them equal benefits until the Obergefell marriage equality decision in 2015.
So just because Energy was the ‘oops’ department Perry wanted to eliminate — along with Commerce and Education that he was able to name — his record isn’t as a governor who pushed for dirty energy over clean energy.
The choice could be worse. Trump could have chosen Glenn Kellow, president and CEO of Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal producer. What should make Kellow even more attractive as a Trump cabinet pick is he put Peabody into bankruptcy in April.