Rick Perry Touts Trump Energy Policy at DC Summit
Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry delivered a full-throated defense of domestic oil and gas production Monday during an event organized by the America First Policy Institute, denouncing those “genuflecting at the altar of the religion of environmentalism.”
Texas’ former Texas Republican governor said fossil fuels are critical to both national security and economic growth.
“We don’t need to be apologizing to anybody for that,” Perry said. “We don’t need to apologize to anybody about being for fossil fuels and how they have changed the world that we live in today.”
The America First Policy Institute is a new nonprofit featuring a number of officials who served under former President Donald Trump.
It has been described as a “White House in waiting” with those involved cultivating a policy agenda for a future Republican-controlled Congress or administration, whether the next GOP president ends up being Trump 2.0 or one of the many contenders vying to replace him as leader of the party.
Some die-hard Trump loyalists have denigrated the group as a collection of Republicans In Name Only, but there were plenty of bold-faced names in the hallways and on the program for the group’s policy summit in D.C. this week.
Trump himself plans to deliver the summit’s keynote address Tuesday afternoon.
Speakers include Perry, Trump’s former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and his former head of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, among others.
Republican lawmakers help round out the program, with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, set to speak Tuesday.
The summit’s themes have been in keeping with the organization’s agenda that includes finishing Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border, giving parents more control over schools and getting tough on criminals.
Perry once was among Trump’s harshest Republican critics and described him as a “cancer on conservatism” before changing course and joining his administration to run the very department he once forgot during his “oops” brain freeze during a 2011 GOP presidential primary debate.
More recently Perry has been in the headlines for text messages indicating he pushed a strategy in which key Republican-controlled legislatures would ignore the 2020 election results.
Dressed Monday in Johnny Cash-invoking all-black, Perry preached the virtues of energy independence, talking up not just domestic oil and gas production but also the potential of small modular reactors, which he described as safer than reactors of the past.
Joining Perry on the panel was Rep. August Pfluger, R-San Angelo, who said Permian Basin operations are pumping at record levels and helping keep gas prices from soaring even higher than they already have.
Pfluger said the Biden administration has undermined the industry in the name of protecting endangered species and combatting climate change, making it harder to get leases on federal lands and canceling the Keystone XL pipeline.
He also highlighted EPA’s recent talk of tighter regulations on methane emissions from operations in West Texas.
Pfluger said in an interview that despite record-setting production in Texas, the administration’s policies are likely to cause pain down the road because of the long lead time involved with oil and gas projects.
Biden has emphasized the need to transition away from fossil fuels in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the potentially devastating effects of climate change.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn spoke during the panel that followed Perry’s, much of which focused on Republicans’ soft-on-crime criticisms of Democratic mayors and prosecutors.
The panelists took issue with gun control proposals that flowed from the school massacre in Uvalde and instead stressed the need to improve security or “harden” schools.
“On behalf of Texas law enforcement, we’re very sorry, there was an epic failure of law enforcement in Uvalde,” Waybourn said. “That is not the typical response of law enforcement.”
Waybourn called for having the ability of an “immediate response” by a good guy with a gun inside schools, whether that is active or retired law enforcement or a trained, armed staff member.
“In Texas many, many teachers are out qualifying today as we speak and they’re getting ready to go,” Waybourn said.