Rick Perry Will Fight For Energy Independence And Against Energy Poverty

Perry can return the department to doing things that will help all Americans.
01/06/2017 11:46 am ET Updated Jan 10, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump made an excellent choice in nominating former Texas Governor Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy.

Gov. Perry showed decisive leadership and high character while running one of our most diverse and energy rich states. He was respected by both sides of the aisle, and took his state to new heights in utilizing its natural resources safely and efficiently.

At the time of the announcement, Mr. Trump said, “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,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Rick Perry will be an advocate for America’s energy sector, ensuring that we are striking the right balance, and using the same leadership skills he had in Texas to fight for energy independence.

The Department of Energy’s influence over America’s energy policy is one part of the job, but so is its mission of securing our power grids and making sure everyone across the country has access to safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

Under the Obama administration, our nation’s most vulnerable and historically disadvantaged were taken for a ride with promises of hope and change. But for those who were already struggling to pay their power bills, there was little hope to be found in higher power prices, and no changes were made to create opportunities in poverty-stricken areas.

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which requires most states to rely heavily on far more costly and less efficient sources of power will cost approximately $292 billion and would mean less opportunity for all communities across America, but especially for blacks. For many Americans, discriminating against the most affordable energy sources has serious, negative consequences. NERA Economic Consulting estimates that the Obama administration’s plan would have left Americans paying up to 14 percent more for electricity for the next several years. That’s 14 percent less those families would have to send their kids to college, pay other bills, or even put food on the table. According to a study conducted by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the EPA Clean Power Plan would drive 23 percent more of the black community into poverty. Black Americans would not only be paying more to power our homes, we’d also experience job losses and higher costs on everyday goods.

Rising energy costs make everyday goods more expensive to produce because it costs businesses more to keep the lights on or have energy-intensive factories. This added cost has to be balanced, and unfortunately, layoffs or reduced job creation are likely outcomes. The estimates from the National Black Chamber of Commerce put this at 7 million fewer jobs for black Americans nationwide by 2035.

Higher energy prices will be destructive for all segments of the population, but for the African American community, the impact would be even worse. Many black Americans are already at a disadvantaged economic position, with median incomes 33 percent lower than the national average as recently as 2013. For us to catch up with the general population, black Americans can’t afford any additional impediments.

These policies and burdensome regulations have hurt our communities, and it will take men and women who have lots of experience and strongly believe in the free market like Governor Perry to begin rolling them back.

Instead of using the Department of Energy as a way to give handouts to other political insiders and handouts, like the infamous case of Solyndra, Rick Perry can return the department to doing things that will help all Americans.

Radical environmentalists have already said they will fight Mr. Trump’s America-first energy agenda and attempt to block Governor Perry and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator nominee Scott Pruitt. But Governor Perry is no stranger to standing up for the people he represents, and I know he will do the same thing in his new position.

President-elect Trump will have a lot on his plate undoing all the damage to our energy independence and security over the last eight years. But with the promise of Rick Perry in the Department of Energy and Scott Pruitt in the EPA, I trust the Trump administration will begin to roll back President Obama’s disastrous energy policies.

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