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Trump Picks Rick Perry As Energy Secretary

Perry, if confirmed, would head a government agency he had once vowed to eliminate.

Last updated on December 14, 2016, at 6:35 a.m. ET

Posted on December 13, 2016, at 9:51 a.m. ET

Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty Images

Donald Trump has selected former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary, his transition team confirmed Wednesday morning.

โ€œAs the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as Secretary of Energy,โ€ the president-elect said in a statement.

โ€œMy administration is going to make sure we take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process.โ€

Perry, who dropped out of the 2016 GOP presidential nominee race last September, had called for "defending conservatism against the cancer of Trump-ism." He had also criticized Trump's "barking carnival act." Later, as Trump emerged the likely winner of the Republican nomination, Perry said, "I believe that Donald Trump should be our guy."

Perry is tapped to lead a government agency he had vowed to shut down during his 2012 run for the GOP nomination, although he struggled to remember which department it was during a debate. In what became known as Perry's infamous "oops moment," he said, "The third agency of government I would โ€” I would do away with Education, the โ€”Commerce...Commerce and, letโ€™s see. I canโ€™t. The third one, I canโ€™t. Sorry โ€” oops." Later in the debate, he clarified that the Energy Department was the third that he would eliminate.

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In February 2015, Perry was appointed as a director to Energy Transfer Partners LLC, a Texas-based company responsible for developing the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, which was the subject of a months-long protest by Native American tribes and environmental activists who believed the crude oil pipeline would contaminate the water supply and disturb sacred and historic sites.

In a huge victory for the protesters, the Obama administration recently announced it would consider possible alternative routes, but Energy Transfer Partners has criticized the government's decision and said it was "fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting." Trump has also supported the pipeline's construction and said he would "solve" the issue quickly after being sworn in as president.

Perry, a climate change skeptic, said in 2011 that global warming was "politicized" and that scientists "manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects."

Following his bid for the GOP presidential nomination this year, Perry was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.

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