January 19, 2017 - 1:59 PM EST
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Rick Perry says he regrets vow to abolish Energy Department

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) --

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to serve as secretary of energy, expressed regret Thursday for proposing to abolish the department years ago.

My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking, Perry said in his opening statement for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.

Perry proposed abolishing the department as a presidential candidate in 2012. He also forgot the department's name during a primary debate. He identified three agencies he sought to close, and named the Commerce and Education departments before admitting, The third one, I can't. Sorry, oops.

The Energy Department oversees energy policy, as well as some aspects of security and maintaining and securing the United States' nuclear arsenal, while also stemming nuclear proliferation around the world. The Energy Department had a budget of $27 billion in 2016.

On the topic of climate change, Perry said he believes the climate is changing and some of it is caused by man-made activity. Perry said it is important to address climate change without compromising economic growth.

During the 2016 presidential primary campaign, Perry referred to Trump as a barking carnival act before dropping out of the race and endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Since his Cabinet nomination, Perry has resigned from the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of the Dakota Access Pipeline, in order to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest linking him to the controversial project.

When pressed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders about whether he believes climate change is a global threat, Perry said it is an important issue that needs to be discussed with scientists and cited his governance in Texas during which he said carbon emissions decreased by 17 percent during an economic boom in the state.

[email protected] questions Rick Perry on #ClimateChange and Global Warming. pic.twitter.com/SL776bUPCf— CSPAN (@cspan) January 19, 2017

Source: United Press International (January 19, 2017 - 1:59 PM EST)

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