Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas


Governor Rick Perry

Your Guide to Rick Perry's Energy Policy


Governor Rick Perry

Photo courtesy of KUT News

Some observers see a little bit of Green under Rick Perry's Red State politics.

Rick Perry is the current governor of Texas, and was a candidate in the Republican primaries before the 2012 presidential election. He entered the campaign in August 2011 and dropped out shortly before the South Carolina primary on January 19, 2012.

Rick Perry’s energy policy in many ways reflects the energy makeup of the state he governs, with  a bit of green mixed in with a massive system reliant on fossil fuels.

Rick Perry campaigned heavily on his energy policy, saying that “energy independence” would create jobs and help insure uninsured Americans. He advocates drilling for new sources of fuel and has battled with federal regulators (notably the Environmental Protection Agency) over rules aimed at curbing pollution and emissions.

Perry has been a vocal skeptic of climate change.

But there is a green side to Perry’s energy policy. Along with the traditional support of the oil and gas, Perry has overseen record growth in some renewable energy sectors. During Perry’s ten years in office, Texas has become a world leader in wind power.

The governor’s office website touts millions of dollars in investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in renewable energy. It even features a video of the governor announcing more than $8 million for wind power research at Texas Tech University and touting the expansion of wind power transmission into major cities. But the Sierra Club points out that much of Texas’ wind power infrastructure was mandated by electric deregulation that took place before Perry took office.

Perry was criticized at times during his campaign for being absent from the state. While Rick Perry was away, Texans grappled with the impacts of a historic drought, the profits and pitfalls of a newly invigorated natural gas industry, and saw continued battles between state policymakers and the federal government over environmental regulations. During the Labor Day wildfires in Bastrop County, shouts of “Where’s the governor?!” interrupted a speech by Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who had been sent in Perry’s place. Dewhurst said he didn’t know where Perry was.

Perry also campaigned with a promise to eliminate three federal agencies, one of which was the Department of Energy. During a debate in November, Perry made headlines for his “Oops” moment when he couldn’t remember that department when asked which agencies he would eliminate:

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