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Rick Perry faces Senate hearing for Energy Department post

20 January 2017

"I am committed to working with you in prioritizing what is one of the most risky, polluted sites we have in the country", Perry told Cantwell, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources committee.

Under additional questioning about climate change, Perry explicitly disavowed a questionnaire the Trump transition team had sent to Energy Department employees asking to name people who had worked on the phenomenon. In fact, the primary directive of the Department of Energy is to oversee America's vast nuclear arsenal, with almost two-thirds of the department's $30 billion budget spent on maintaining the world's most risky weapons.

In remarks prepared for his confirmation hearing to lead DOE before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today, Perry said that climate change, which he once called a "contrived phony mess", is occurring and that humans are at least partially to blame.

He is also likely to be questioned on a New York Times report from Wednesday night, which says Perry was unaware of all of the areas the Department of Energy covered before he accepted the job.

Perry's confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy Committee is Thursday, and he can expect some tough questions to test his quick education. While running for president in 2015, Perry called the Iran deal - one that outgoing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz helped create - "one of the most destructive foreign policy deals [his] lifetime". "I don't want that information", he said.

Perry largely stuck to that script when grilled by Sen.

Department leadership under Perry would represent a pivot from being run by learned scientists to a person who is known for close ties to energy interests. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) during Perry's hearing. Perry appeared to rebut Trump's vocal skepticism of climate change.

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As energy secretary, he would lead a vast scientific research operation credited with helping trigger a US drilling boom and advancements in energy efficiency and renewables technology, and would oversee America's nuclear arsenal.

"Thank you so much for coming into my office".

Mr Perry said he regretted his notorious slip.

He later joked, when asked about cuts to major energy efficiency and renewable programmes reported by The Hill on Thursday morning, "maybe they'll have the same experience I had and forget that they said that".

While Perry is expected to cruise through the energy panel, Democratic support is far from assured.

Perry said he had sat down with retired Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, the current under secretary of energy for the NNSA, and that he hoped to see continuity in that agency. Some Energy Department officials viewed the questionnaire as a bid to intimidate top scientists.