But observers have been impressed by the selection of his staff and his earnest efforts to understand the expansive network of DOE responsibilities. And they say he's been focused in understanding the work of the agency, trekking to the nation's national labs while vocally pushing the Trump administration's policy of achieving U.S. "energy dominance."
How Rick Perry survives in Trump's troubled Cabinet
In Trump's Washington, Rick Perry lays low
Perry, more than 18 months into his tenure as energy secretary, has maintained that rarest of things in Washington these days, a low-key, under the radar persona, happy to play the role of likeable sidekick to President Donald Trump. As he promotes Trump’s policies on controversial issues such as reviving the coal and nuclear sectors and trade tariffs, he has managed to do so in a manner that avoids the uproar that regularly engulfs the president and his advisers.
Former Bush Energy Secretary Sam Bodman dies
Former Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, who served under former President George W. Bush, has died at the age of 79. Bush issued a statement Friday mourning the death of Bodman, who served in several roles during his administration before leading the Energy Department in Bush's second term, from 2005 to 2009. "Sam had a brilliant mind, and we are fortunate that he put his intellect to work for our country as secretary of energy," Bush said in a statement reported by The Associated Press. Before serving as energy chief, Bodman served in the Commerce and Treasury departments. A trained chemical engineer, he also previously served as CEO of Cabot Corporation, a Boston-based chemical company. Energy Secretary Rick Perry praised Bodman in a statement Friday, noting the late secretary's "impact" on the department. "I am saddened to learn of the passing of former Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman. Sam was a real life success story with an impressive career in the private sector before turning his attention to public service, serving in senior appointments across the government," the former Texas governor said. "His legacy and impact will continue to be felt, long after the years he served in the Forrestal Building," Perry added.
Michael Lewis: The Big Short author on how Trump is gambling with nuclear disaster
It's the Grauniad so....consider the source.Lewis was contemplating the nation’s dire risk portfolio when Trump tapped the former Texas governor Rick Perry to be secretary of the Department of Energy. Five years earlier, Perry had said in a presidential debate that he wanted to eliminate that cabinet-level department. At least, he had tried to say it: in a moment that helped sweep his ruinous candidacy into oblivion, Perry forgot the department’s name.
“It’s bad enough Rick Perry has no sense of this,” Lewis thought after hearing of his appointment. But he had to acknowledge he didn’t know anything about the department either. So he decided to find out. “It took about two phone calls before I learned, ‘Oh, that’s where the nuclear weapons are. Oh my God.’”
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts
President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:
Rita Baranwal of Pennsylvania, to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Nuclear Energy) at the Department of Energy. Dr. Baranwal currently serves as the Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy. Previously, she served as Director of Technology Development & Application at Westinghouse and was a manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis, Inc., where she led Research and Development in nuclear fuel materials for U.S. naval reactors. Dr. Baranwal earned her B.A. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She serves on Advisory Boards for MIT’s Materials Research Laboratory and UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department.
US Energy Secretary: 'Don't Mess With the United States'
A good time to remember that the US actually spends more on nuclear weapons right now---inflation adjusted---than it did during the Manhattan Project.As for the weapons program, he said Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico will continue to play significant roles. The federal government announced earlier this year that Los Alamos — the once-secret city where the atomic bomb was developed decades ago as part of the Manhattan Project — would share in the production of the plutonium cores that trigger nuclear warheads. The other location is the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
Perry loves his job. That could change
Despite being saddled with one of Trump's most controversial energy policies, the charismatic former governor of Texas has for the most part avoided travel and spending controversies that have plagued his counterparts at EPA and the Interior Department. He's now widely expected to stay on at the agency through 2020.
Senate Energy Committee Approves Baranwal
Earlier this afternoon, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Dr. Rita Baranwal's nomination to be the Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy at the Department of Energy.
Now her nomination can be voted upon by the full Senate. Historically, the Senate has tended to package nominees together and approve them as a bloc right before a recess week. The next Senate recess is scheduled to begin on March 18th.
Cortez Masto puts hold on all DOE nominees in a bid to fend off any more secret plutonium shipments
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said she plans to slow all nominations to the Department of Energy until the agency agrees not to send any more plutonium to Nevada and provides a date for when the secret plutonium shipment will be removed from the state. Four DOE nominees were advanced last week by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Cortez Masto is a member. She voted against all of them in committee. The four nominees are Rita Baranwal, picked to be assistant secretary for nuclear energy; William Cooper, chosen to be general counsel; Christopher Fall selected to be director of the Office of Science; and Lane Genatowski, picked to be director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Rick Perry: AOC should not be 'castigated' for Green New Deal
Perry told reporters at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit energy industry conference in Houston that he’d be open to meeting with Ocasio-Cortez to discuss ways to reduce emissions. “I don't think the representative should be castigated or pushed aside just on the face of her comments relative that she wants to live in place with clean air and water,” Perry said. “So do I.”