Perry not qualified to lead Department of Energy

In elections, there is always a winner and a loser. One of the perks of being winners of presidential elections is that the winner gets to choose his cabinet. However, the winner owes it to the American public to choose a cabinet that will serve the country’s best interest and not a cabinet that will only serve the interest of a few large corporations. One can only hope that the members of the United States Senate will see through smoke and mirrors and refuse to confirm Rick Perry as the Secretary of Energy.

In 1939, World War II was started by an invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. This war lasted approximately six years and was ended by the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan by the United States of America. These atomic bombs were made possible through a project called “The Manhattan Project.” The Manhattan Project was constructed and completed under the direction of the United States Army Corp of Engineers. After the war ended in 1946, the project was controlled by the newly created Atomic Energy Commission. In 1974, the federal government split the AEC into two branches. The first branch was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was designed to regulate the nuclear power industry, and the second branch was the Energy Research and Development Adminstration, which managed the nuclear weapon, naval reactor and energy development.

In 1973, President Carter signed an act called “The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977.” Although this act was signed in 1973, it was enacted in 1977 and effectively created the Department of Energy.

All of this background to say that at its core, the Department of Energy is a physics agency with the primary responsibility being the safety of nuclear material. This includes any nuclear material that can be used in military bombs.

The Department of Energy is also the largest funder of physical science research in the United States. It supports 17 national labs and DOE funded research has led to 115 Nobel prizes.

Research the DOE supports includes, but is not limited to, is research in the properties of materials (including medical), high performance scientific computing, and biology research that includes work done on the Human Genome Project.

The DOE created the first webpage on the internet, used to communicate research with colleagues.

The list of accomplishments of the DOE goes on.

In 2004, President George W. Bush nominated Samuel Wright Bodman as the Secretary of Energy. Dr. Bodman holds a PhD. in chemical engineering from MIT. The nomination and confirmation of Dr. Bodman started a trend of nominating a scientist as the Secretary of Energy, which President Obama has continued throughout his administration.

In the last 12 years, with a scientist at its helm, the DOE has driven innovation in low carbon energy and made the cost of renewable energy much more affordable.

This is the agency President-Elect Donald Trump has tapped former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lead. Perry once said he would like to dissolve the very department he has been asked to head. He even forgot the name of the agency during a debate while running for president.

Perry is on the board of Energy Transfer Partners. This company is trying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. A 1,200-mile pipeline that will carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Construction on the pipeline has currently been halted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers due to concerns that it will damage the sacred grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. It’s an allegiance that alone should make Perry ineligible for the role of Secretary of the Department of Energy.

A more concerning fact is that the information found on Perry’s resume does not fit the qualifications needed to become the secretary of the Department of Energy. Yes, he comes from an “energy rich” state. However, it is the Secretary of the Interior that oversees almost all of the oil and gas production in the country. The Department of Energy’s primary responsibility is the safety of nuclear material. A technical job of which Perry has no experience. Surely, there is someone more qualified that President-Elect Trump could find to fill this vital role involving the safety of our country.

Sabrina L. Wilber

Portland, Tn.

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