Rick Perry Sorry He Wanted to Get Rid of Energy Dept.
Statements 'do not reflect my current thinking,' says appointee
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2017 12:28 PM CST
Energy Secretary-designate Rick Perry, accompanied by his wife Anita, straightens his tie prior testifying on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) Oops. Rick Perry, who famously pledged to get rid of the Energy Department while simultaneously forgetting its name in 2012, says he regrets that now that he's learned what the department actually does, the Washington Post reports. Perry is Donald Trump's pick to head the department, and his confirmation hearing started Thursday. He opened the hearing by acknowledging that his statements in 2012 "do not reflect my current thinking," as he's now been "briefed on so many of the vital functions" of the department. "I regret recommending its elimination."

Two-thirds of the Energy Department's annual $30 billion budget is used for monitoring, cleaning, maintaining, and safeguarding America's nuclear weapons, as well as other nuclear- and science-related tasks. Perry also addressed climate change, saying that he believes “some of it” is caused by “man-made activity.” But, he added, "the question is how we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth.” Meanwhile, Science Magazine has a list of 10 questions scientists would ask of Perry were they invited to do so at the confirmation hearing, including about the future of nuclear cooperation with Russia and China.

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