U.S. energy secretary pick Rick Perry clears confirmation hurdle

Ben Carson Credit CNN

Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement on his vote to confirm former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as U.S. Secretary of Energy.

But the truth is that the president's charge can't top Perry's to-do list. The move comes amidst criticism concerning Perry's beliefs on both the department he now leads and issues it deals with.

Perry, who suffered for years from his "oops" moment in a 2011 presidential debate, was well-received during his January confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote.

"If confirmed, my desire is to lead this agency in a thoughtful manner, surrounding myself with expertise on the core functions of the department", Perry said.

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Texas, where Perry served as governor from 2000-15, is home to roughly one-third of estimated USA oil reserves. Udall is a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, which writes the budget for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Renewable-energy supporters expressed hope.

Mr Perry has promised to protect America's nuclear stockpile and is an advocate of all forms of United States energy production, including coal and oil. "We look forward to working with DOE Secretary Perry, to continue this significant business opportunity to expand advanced energy that now supports more than 3 million workers across the nation". Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, said, "It is important that the secretary ensure that the regulatory process, now 40 years old and in need of significant reform, operates fairly and consistently for all stakeholders".

However, the large donations Perry has received from the industry could add to concerns many environmental advocates have expressed over his selection.

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