Former Texas Governor Rick Perry Faces Aggressive Questioning During Confirmation Hearing

"My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking", Perry said.

But Democrats were not prepared to let him do that.

During the 2011 Republican primary debates, the Texas governor and "Dancing With the Stars" loser could not even remember the Department of Energy existed in the context of saying that he wanted to eliminate it. "If you asked him now, he'd say, 'I'm serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.' It's been a learning curve". "I can't. Sorry. Oops". Al Franken. After Franken asked him if he had enjoyed their earlier meeting in Franken's office, Perry replied, "I hope you are as much fun on that dias as you are on your couch".

The comment and subsequent laughter shut down the questioning.

Perry, a self-professed climate skeptic, vowed to resort to science when crafting any climate-change policy as energy secretary.

"I am going to protect the men and women of the scientific community from anyone that would attack them, no matter what their reason may be, at the Department of Energy", Perry told a Senate committee during a 19 January hearing on his nomination. "If I am so fortunate as to be confirmed, this experience will inform my priorities at the department".

Democrats on the committee expressed worry that Perry would weaken the energy department's functions and potentially target its army of scientists focused on climate research. Perry appeared to rebut Trump's vocal skepticism of climate change.

Perry's confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy Committee is Thursday, and he can expect some tough questions to test his quick education. The United States has never had a "non-expert" run the Energy Department. Moniz told reporters that Perry "is very intent on doing a good job".

"I don't approve of it. I don't want that information". "That is not how I manage". "I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by man-made activity".

Rick Perry's confirmation hearing for Secretary of Energy has thus far mostly been various senators using the word "science" as code for "addressing climate change" or "drilling Alaska", depending on their party's alignment. Mr. Perry studied animal husbandry and led cheers at Texas A&M University.

Perry pointed to his home state of Texas and its efforts to address climate change and other environmental issues. "We truly advocated an all-of-the-above" strategy, he said, and pushed a plan to "develop cleaner fossil fuel technologies "but also renewables".

Perry's predecessors at the agency, Secretary Ernest Moniz and former secretary Steven Chu, were both well-known physicists.

Still, Perry has shown some interest in renewable energy.

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