Oct 4, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Reports: Energy Secretary Rick Perry plans to resign this year

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is preparing to step down by the end of the year, per several reports Thursday night citing anonymous sources familiar with his plans.

Why it matters: Perry has served far longer than many officials in President Trump's Cabinet and avoided the kinds of controversies that forced out ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Where it stands: Politico reported last night that the former Texas governor is "expected" to announce his resignation by the end of November. A subsequent Washington Post story says the timing is "by the end of the year," while The New York Times reports the timeframe is "by December."

  • The Energy Department pushed back against the stories but stopped short of denying them outright.
  • "While the beltway media has breathlessly reported on rumors of Secretary Perry’s departure for months, he is still the Secretary of Energy and a proud member of President Trump’s cabinet," DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.
  • "One day the media will be right. Today is not that day," she added.

The big picture: Perry has been a vocal advocate for U.S. fossil fuel production and exports, in particular touting the role of U.S. liquefied natural gas in bolstering allies' energy security.

  • However, his high-profile efforts to create new federal support for coal-fired and nuclear plants at risk of closure never came to fruition.
  • Perry has also backed DOE's alternative energy programs, a delicate role at a time when White House officials have called for steep cuts that Congress has rejected on a bipartisan basis.
  • He notably has talked up the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy, which White House budget proposals have sought to choke off.

What's next: Democrats are seeking more information about Perry's interactions with Ukrainian officials as they investigate Trump ahead of potential impeachment.

  • However, per the Post: "[N]o evidence has emerged that Perry participated in the effort to pressure Ukranian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter."

Go deeper: Democrats press Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Ukraine travels

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