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Rick Perry Can Help Launch the Next Great Era in American Energy

Trump‘s Energy secretary pick cuts through bureaucracy

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President-elect Trump's nominee for Energy secretary, meets with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a photo op in the Capitol on Jan. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President-elect Trump's nominee for Energy secretary, meets with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a photo op in the Capitol on Jan. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas and energy are synonymous with one another. Most Americans probably think of the Lone Star State as an oil and gas economy with a lot of heft, and for good reason. The industry supports tens of thousands of jobs in the state and helps power one-third of the country.

But what many don’t know is that my state’s energy dominance isn’t confined to oil and gas alone — in recent years, Texas has become a leader in renewables, thanks in large part to former Gov. Rick Perry.  

Today, my state generates more wind power than any other, and is experiencing explosive growth in solar power as well. If growth continues at the current rate, Texas will soon be a national leader. Put another way, our state has benefited from an all-of-the-above, diversified energy strategy spearheaded by Gov. Perry. As the President-elect’s choice to take the helm of the Department of Energy, I have no doubt he will build on his successful track record in Texas to spur energy growth across the country. 

As governor of Texas for 14 years, Perry managed a state with a budget and bureaucracy larger than the Energy Department. His sensible approach to regulation kept unnecessary red-tape out of the way, allowing job creators and innovators the room to thrive.

During his tenure, he also championed and signed legislation that created a renewable portfolio standard and helped jumpstart wind energy production in the state, empowering Texans with more energy choices. In Houston, for example, residents have a menu of more than 100 rate plans to choose from, with varying levels of renewable power.

Of course, an all-of-the-above energy strategy isn’t just about the economy. It’s about pioneering more energy solutions that work for everyone.

Gov. Perry never prioritized traditional energy production at the expense of innovation and research. Where some might have seen an either/or proposition — protecting the environment at the expense of growth — Rick Perry saw an opportunity to promote a climate of innovation and smart regulation.

Under his leadership, Texas pursued cutting-edge technologies that led to a boom in shale oil production, helping create thousands of jobs and making energy more affordable for Texas families along the way.

Promoting an all-of-the-above energy policy doesn’t just power our lives and drive economic growth. It’s a national security imperative too.

While Congress took a big step forward last year by lifting the crude oil export ban, more must be done to embrace American energy for the future, and reduce our allies’ dependence on volatile, foreign sources of energy.

That means streamlining and expediting the review and approval process to help American energy — like liquefied natural gas — get to international markets. And it should also include a continued push toward the next game-changing breakthrough by supporting fiscally responsible research and development of both traditional and new energy sources.

Gov. Perry is the right man to get it done. Texas is the pre-eminent case study in what can be accomplished in energy production, and it’s only natural that the Trump administration should tap the man whose leadership led to that success.

By nominating Gov. Perry as our next Energy secretary, President-elect Trump chose someone who knows how to shake the cobwebs off a lumbering bureaucracy and pave the way for the next North American energy renaissance. The guiding principles of his tenure — smart regulation, encouraging innovation, and growing every aspect of energy production — continue to benefit Texans now. As Energy secretary, I have no doubt he will build on them to the benefit of the American people.

Sen. John Cornyn is the majority whip, the second-highest ranking position in the Senate Republican Conference. He also serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees. The Texas native was elected to his third Senate term in 2014.

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