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US politics

Ex-Texas governor Rick Perry nominated as US energy secretary

US President-elect Donald Trump has formally chosen Rick Perry as his future secretary of energy. If the oil industry ally is confirmed to the post, it could have profound consequences for US environmental policy.

US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday tapped Rick Perry, a one-time presidential rival and friend to the oil industry, as his choice for the head of the Energy Department.

Perry, 66, was governor of the oil-producing state of Texas from 2000 to 2015.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 - proposing in the course of campaigning to eliminate the very department he has now been nominated to lead - and again in 2016 against Trump, though he dropped out early in the contest.

In a statement from Trump's transition team, Perry welcomed the planned nomination.

 "It is a tremendous honor to be selected to serve as secretary of energy by President-elect Trump," Perry said. "I am deeply humbled by his trust in me."

'Exploiting natural resources'

Trump, in the same statement, praised what he saw as Perry's achievements during his tenure as Texas governor.

"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," said Trump.

"My 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," he added.

President-elect Donald Trump (picture-alliance/AP Photo/P.M. Monsivais)

Trump is a declared climate change skeptic

As energy secretary, Perry would be in charge of policy decisions on boosting the US domestic supply of oil and on investments in oil exploration and technology. The Energy Department also plays a major regulatory rule in the areas of nuclear power and natural gas, as well as maintaining and securing the country's nuclear arsenal.

Favorable to pipeline

If the US Senate confirms the appointment, Perry is expected to try to push through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project, which has provoked major protests in North Dakota, along with similar enterprises by the oil industry.

He is currently board director at Energy Transfer Partners LP and also at Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, which together developed the Dakota Access Pipeline. The US Army Corps of Engineers decided last month to delay the pipeline to allow talks with the Standing Rock Sioux and other project opponents.

Trump has already chosen another leading figure in the US oil industry, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, as his secretary of state.

Protesters at pipeline site (picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. MacPherson)

The Dakota Access Pipeline project has caused major protests

Climate warningTrump has called global warming, which scientists believe is largely caused by emissions from fossil fuels such as oil and coal,  a hoax.

tj/sms (Reuters, AP)

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