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Rick Perry in the gilded halls of Trump Tower

Rick Perry smiled to photographers Monday as he left Trump Tower after a meeting with the president-elect. (Photo: AP)

Right-Winger Rick Perry, DAPL Board Member, Picked for Energy Secretary

"Rick Perry is on the board of the #DAPL parent company. This glaring conflict of interest should disqualify him from serving as Energy Sec."

Nika Knight Beauchamp

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday appointed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy.

Perry infamously forgot the name of the department at the same time that he advocated for axing it, during his failed 2012 presidential bid.

Perry's career—which has included two presidential campaigns and a turn on the reality TV show "Dancing With The Stars"—has shown him to be a stalwart friend to Big Oil. Indeed, the transparency advocacy group OpenSecrets.org observed Tuesday that the industry donated nearly $2 million to Perry's 2016 campaign:

Perry, a climate change denier and extreme right-winger, even serves on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

Many observers have critiqued the position as a clear conflict of interest, as the approval of an easement for the pipeline to cross the Missouri River will soon be the responsibility of Trump's administration.

It's possible that Democratic senators may oppose his appointment on those grounds.

When Perry was appointed to the company's board in 2015, DeSmog Blog's Steve Horn observed that "Perry is the newest addition to a long roster of powerful political officials who have passed through the government-industry revolving door and accepted a job either on a company Board or as a lobbyist for a company seeking to cash in on the fracked gas export boom."

Perry initially rose to prominence in the GOP when, as a Texas state legislator, he switched from Democrat to Republican in 1989 at the behest of political operative Karl Rove and took part in "a tough, negative campaign" for agriculture commissioner in 1990 that saw him beat progressive incumbent Jim Hightower. It was a "campaign that permanently established Rove's reputation for foul play," noted Texas Monthly.

"I think [Perry's] a good campaigner," Hightower told Texas Monthly many years later. "I think that's the one thing he actually does well, as opposed to actually governing or having actual ideas or principles."


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Harris Says White House Not 'Discussing' Use of Federal Land for Abortion Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among the Democratic lawmakers who have expressed support for the idea as GOP-controlled states move to outlaw abortion.

Jake Johnson ·


Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·

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