By Michael Bastasch
President-elect Donald Trump will pick former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy (DOE), according to two transition team sources.
Perry, who once said he’d eliminate the Department of Energy, could end up heading the agency, sources told CBS News. Perry beat out two other top contenders for Energy Secretary: West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Trump fundraiser and investor Ray Washburne.
DOE has nearly 13,000 employees and relies on tens of thousands of government contractors. The agency is responsible for nuclear weapons, nuclear power for the U.S. Navy, waste disposal, funding energy technology, overseeing federally-run labs and transmitting electricity.
Perry’s heading DOE could further anger Democrats, especially after a leaked transition team memo had numerous questions about the agency’s work on global warming issues. That memo also inquired about ways DOE could keep aging nuclear reactors online.
Perry has also been criticized for sitting on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company trying to build the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Thousands of activists battled it out with North Dakota police and pipeline security personnel for months before the Obama administration formally blocked the project. Trump expressed support for the pipeline, and will likely approve it upon taking office.
Trump’s also promised to cut the budget by eliminating wasteful programs. If that’s the case, Perry may have a lot of work ahead of him at DOE.
For starters, DOE still has $40 billion left in the loan program that funded failed companies, like Solyndra and Abound Solar. The loan program is expected to lose more than $2 billion, according to government auditors.