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Perry says he’ll ‘protect’ climate research

Perry says he’ll ‘protect’ climate research

Energy Secretary nominee Rick PerryRick PerryTexas governor signs 'fetal heartbeat' abortion bill Tomorrow's special election in Texas is the Democrats' best House hope in 2021 Overnight Energy: Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard |  White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill MORE on Thursday repudiated a transition team questionnaire that sought the names of Energy Department employees involved in climate research, and vowed to "protect" those workers.

“That went out before I was ever selected to be the nominee,” he said at his confirmation hearing.

“I didn’t approve it. I don’t approve of it. I don’t need that information. I don’t want that information. That is not how I manage.”

Perry also pledged to protect the Department of Energy’s climate research. 

“I’m going to protect all of the science, whether it’s related to the climate or other aspects of what we’re going to be doing,” he said. 

“I’m going to protect the men and women of the scientific community from anyone who may attack them, no matter what their reason may be, at the Department of Energy.”

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In December, before Perry was nominated, the Trump team sent the Department of Energy a questionnaire asking for information about the agency’s climate work. 

After criticism from Democrats and outside scientists, the transition team backed down and said the survey wrongly went out. The Energy Department did not provide the requested information.

But it still raised concerns among Democrats and clean energy supporters, who said it could preview a Trump administration hostile to climate research. 

Perry, like many other Trump cabinet nominees, broke with the president-elect on Thursday and said he believes in climate change, though he did not say he accepts the scientific consensus that human activity is the driving force behind it. 

“I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by manmade activity,” he said.