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United States

Trump makes energy and interior picks

UNITED STATES: Donald Trump has selected former Texas governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy in the new cabinet.

As Texas Governor, Rick Perry oversaw massive wind expansion, but still relied on fossil fuels
As Texas Governor, Rick Perry oversaw massive wind expansion, but still relied on fossil fuels

The news could be far worse for wind power. Texas leads the country in wind development, although it is reliant upon the oil and gas sector.

As Texas governor for 14 years, Perry oversaw a boom in wind development and is well aware of the economic benefits and jobs created.

Of the Texan wind boom, Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, said Perry saw the economic opportunity.

Webber told the Guardian newspaper: "Perry was there when it happened, and not just sort of idly sitting by, but actually helpful when it came time to build the power lines."

As a candidate for the White House in 2012, however, Perry proposed eliminating the energy department, which oversees research, has offered loans and loan guarantees and is active in infrastructure.

Interior

Trump has also chosen Montana Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary.

The department oversees the management and conservation of most federal land and of natural resources, including offshore wind development.

Zinke, a climate sceptic like Trump, will succeed Sally Jewell if confirmed. He appears relatively committed to fossil fuels, voting in favour of much pro-coal legislation while in Congress, but his views on renewable energy are not clear.

And the President-elect has nominated Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, the top foreign policy position in the US government.

Trump previously tapped Scott Pruitt — an oil and gas industry ally, climate denier and Attorney General of Oklahoma — to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

If the nominees are confirmed by the Senate, the new cabinet will be decidedly more pro-fossil fuels than President Obama's.

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