| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 11 Rick Perry, who proposed
eliminating the U.S. Energy Department during his unsuccessful
bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has emerged
as a leading candidate to head the agency under President-elect
Donald Trump, a transition official said on Sunday.
Democratic U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and
Joe Manchin of West Virginia also are in the running for the job
as Trump continues to fill key positions in his administration
ahead of taking office on Jan. 20, according to the official,
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Perry served as governor of Texas, a leading oil-producing
state, from 2000 when he succeeded President George W. Bush
until 2015. In his two unsuccessful presidential runs, he touted
his record of job creation in the second-most-populous state.
Perry's proposal to scrap the Energy Department caused what
has become known as his "oops" moment during a November 2011
debate when he could not remember the departments he wanted to
"It's three agencies of government when I get there that are
gone: commerce, education and the um, what's the third one
there? Let's see," Perry said.
His debate adversaries tried to prod his memory, but Perry
ultimately gave up, saying, "I can't. The third one, I can't.
Sorry. Oops." It was the Energy Department, which is responsible
for U.S. energy policy and oversees the nation's nuclear weapons
Perry also ran for the 2016 presidential nomination against
Trump but dropped out in September 2015 after gaining little
traction. Perry initially was a fierce critic of Trump but later
endorsed Trump and called him "the people's choice."
In July 2015, Perry said: "Let no one be mistaken: Donald
Trump's candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be
clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded."
If Perry gets the job, it would be further indication that
the incoming Trump administration may be friendly toward the
fossil fuel industry.
Trump is set to pick U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris
Rodgers, a climate-change skeptic and an advocate for expanded
oil and gas development, to head the Interior Department.
Trump's pick for the Environmental Protection Agency is
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, an ardent opponent of
President Barack Obama's measures to curb climate change who has
sued the EPA to block in a bid to undo a key regulation to curb
greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from coal-fired power plants.
And Trump is expected to name Rex Tillerson, chief executive
of oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp, as secretary of state.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by