Rick Perry on Environment

Republican Governor (TX)


Simultaneous economic growth & environmental protection

Perry's leadership of Texas proved that economic growth and protection of the environment can be achieved simultaneously. While adding population and more than 2.2 million jobs during his tenure, Texas also experienced major reductions in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions. Despite having a rapidly growing population and one of the largest petrochemical refining industries in the world, Texas saw its air quality improve.
Source: Energy.gov official website for Trump Cabinet biographies , Dec 31, 2018

Ethanol waiver in Texas but not in Iowa: let states decide

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry defended his decision to request a waiver that would exempt Texas from the federal mandate for the RFS [the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol]. If individual states want to require that ethanol be used in gasoline, that's fine, he said, but not the federal government: "I philosophically don't agree that Washington, D.C. needs to be making these decisions that affect our agriculture industry," Perry said.
Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit , Mar 7, 2015

Unsuccessfully had rural agency rebuild after Hurricane Ike

Last week marked the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Ike, the 3rd costliest hurricane in US history but also one that received relatively little attention from the national media. The storm took the lives of 112 people and did $30 billion worth of damage.

A tiny agency, TDRA frittered away money on administrative costs and got little accomplished.

By 2011, Texas had spent less than 3% of the $1.7 billion earmarked for housing. Statewide, just 36 new homes had been built. By 2013, after much racially-charged political upheaval, not a single public housing unit has been rebuilt, despite legally binding agreements to replace all 569 units destroyed.

Source: Texas Observer 2013 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2013

Create jobs by taking advantage of our natural resources

Q: You have said that Gov. Romney was an abject failure at creating jobs when he was governor of Massachusetts.

PERRY: We need to get focused on that 9% unemployment in this country. And that's where we've got to get focused in America, is how to create an environment where the men and women get back to work. It's the reason I laid out a plan this last week to get this energy that's under our feet. We've got 300 years of resources right under our feet in this country. Yet we've got an administration that is blockading our ability to bring that to the surface, whether it's our petroleum, our natural gas, or our coal. And 1.2 million jobs could be put to work. We don't have to wait on OPEC anymore. We don't have to let them hold us hostage. America's got the energy. Let's have American energy independence.

ROMNEY: He's absolutely right about getting energy independence & taking advantage of our natural resources here. But there are also a lot of good jobs we need in manufacturing

Source: GOP 2011 primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 18, 2011

We reduced NO2 and ozone in TX without scientists dictating

Q: Are there specific scientists that you've found especially compelling on climate change?

PERRY: Let me tell you what I find compelling, is what we've done in Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade. Nitrous oxide levels, down by 57%. Ozone levels down by 27%. That's the way you need to do it, not by some scientist somewhere saying, "Here is what we think is happening out there."

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Flexible permitting to reduce ozone & NOx levels

We've created a predictable regulatory environment, so that employers know what to expect from one quarter to the next. I'm talking about programs like our flexible permitting program that has contributed to cleaner air and economic development in Texas.

Between 2000 and 2009, this program helped Texas achieve a 27% reduction of statewide ozone levels, more than any other state. NOx has fallen by 53% and almost every metropolitan area is meeting the current air standard. For those of you keeping track, Dallas is within just one part per billion of meeting the standard as well. In true Texas style, we made those air quality improvements, while Texas employers were creating more private sector jobs, than any other big state in the nation.

Source: 2011 Texas State of the State Address , Feb 8, 2011

Flexible permitting: cap emissions for entire facility

Obama's EPA doesn't care much for Texas's innovative flexible-permitting system, which establishes pollution caps for entire facilities rather than for each source (like a smokestack) within the facility. This flexible approach requires refineries and other businesses to contain their overall emissions, therefore satisfying the federal standards, but allows them the leeway to determine how best and most efficiently to do so. It was put to place under Democratic governor Ann Richards while Bill Clinton was president, and was never disapproved by the federal bureaucrats. In June 2010, the EPA broadened its takeover, invalidating all 122 flexible permits.

The EPA must have stepped in to stop a major pollution problem, right? Actually, Texas's commonsense system has been hugely successful in tackling air pollution. Over the past decade, Texas has achieved a 22% reduction in ozone and a 46% reduction in NOx emissions, outpacing the rest of the country, which achieved only a 27% reduction in NOx.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 89 , Nov 15, 2010

Katrina: feds impede crucial work; get out of the way

In the aftermath of Katrina, it goes without saying that the federal government had numerous roles. From organizing transportation to having set up the Citizens Corps network that helped us organize from the ground up in the first place. Some of it worked, some of it didn't. Of course, the federal government should have a role in dealing with a massive disaster that affected such a large part of the nation. My frustration mounts in particular, however, when the federal government impedes crucial work. We can fight about money tomorrow. But today, when we need action, get out of the way.

After Katrina, we faced numerous challenges as the federal government bureaucracy dragged its feet. As thousands of people poured into our state, FEMA was not helping us find housing. Worse, though. They were prohibiting us from working with other states to spread folks out, which would have been better for everyone involved.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.153 , Nov 15, 2010

Stop declaring wildlife sanctuaries on water reservoirs

We are tired of environmental extremists entrenched in the federal bureaucracy undermining our regional water planning process. We support wildlife sanctuaries, but please stop declaring them on land local officials have identified as viable for water reservoirs.

In short our message to Washington is this: let Texans run Texas. I support legislation that establishes more than 20 reservoir sites in statute because securing viable water supplies is vital to the future of this state.

Source: Texas 2007 State of the State address , Feb 6, 2007

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Perry adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

Perry adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

Supports national drought policy, focusing on readiness.

Perry signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on NDPC 01-SGA10 on Sep 9, 2001

Maintain water flow in Mississippi & Missouri Rivers.

Perry signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on Mississippi River 01-SGA14 on Feb 27, 2001

Focus on prevention and states for Endangered Species.

Perry signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Preventative conservation on both public and private lands is essential. Western states are actively developing conservation plans to restore declining species before they need the protections of the Endangered Species Act [ESA]. Most declining species can be restored to health only through a federal-state partnership that involves private landowners and interested parties.
  2. The purposes of the ESA are undermined if the Act must be so narrowly interpreted that, in order to defend its application against legal challenge, the very species the Act was enacted to protect are disadvantaged. [For example], the decision in Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Daley, holds that the requirement under the ESA for federal agencies to consider state conservation plans means almost nothing. If decisions like the one in Oregon stands, the Western Governors believe there is a problem with the Act itself requiring amendment or regulatory clarification.
  3. In addition, the Governors have long supported the reauthorization of the ESA based on three goals: to increase the role of states, to streamline the ESA, and to increase certainty and technical assistance for landowners and water users. And the governors call for the ESA to have the recovery of species as its central focus.
  4. The Western Governors believe that the courts, and the Congress, when writing the reauthorization of the ESA, should reaffirm the Secretary’s ability to defer the listing of a species when the actions of a state conservation agreement eliminates the need to list a species. The courts and Congress should also clarify that voluntary actions that the Secretary finds will help restore a declining species and which have performance standards, implementation plans, and monitoring and reporting provisions, and are properly financed, are valid conservation tools.
Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 11: Endangered Species Act 01-WGA11 on Aug 14, 2001

Collaborative, incentive driven, locally-based solutions.

Perry signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Water quality restoration is essential for economic and environmental sustainability of forestry, agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, recreation and public water supply.
  2. The Western Governors favor collaborative, incentive driven, locally based solutions to environmental and natural resource problems such as water quality restoration.
  3. Implementing these water management principles can be expensive and beyond the ability of some states to fund. However, the benefits of managing the resource in this manner are significant. Therefore, the Western Governors encourage federal agencies to look for opportunities to use existing authority to provide funding, flexibility in funding, and/or shared or loaned personnel to states to help them address specific watershed problems.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 12: Watershed Partnerships 01-WGA12 on Aug 14, 2001

    Apply "Good Samaritan" rules to abandoned mine cleanup.

    Perry signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

      Good Samaritan
    1. The Western Governors believe that there is a need to eliminate disincentives, and establish incentives, to voluntary, cooperative efforts aimed at improving and protecting water quality impacted by abandoned or inactive mines.
    2. The Western Governors believe the Clean Water Act should be amended to protect a remediating agency from becoming legally responsible for any continuing discharges from the abandoned mine site after completion of a cleanup project, provided that the remediating agency -- or "Good Samaritan"-- does not otherwise have liability for that abandoned or inactive mine site and attempts to improve the conditions at the site.
    3. The Western Governors believe that Congress, as a priority, should amend the Clean Water Act in a manner that accomplishes the goals embodied in the WGA legislative package on Good Samaritan cleanups. S.1787 from the 106 th Congress is a good starting point for future congressional deliberations.

      Cleanup and Funding
    4. The Governors encourage federal land management agencies to coordinate their abandoned mine efforts with state efforts to avoid redundancy and unnecessary duplication.
    5. Reliable sources of funds that do not divert from other important Clean Water programs should be identified and made available for the cleanup of hardrock abandoned mines in the West.
    6. The Western Governors continue to urge the Administration and Congress to promptly distribute to states abandoned coal mine land funds in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund , including accumulated interest, collected under Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (see WGA Policy Resolution 00-012).
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 15: Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines 01-WGA15 on Aug 14, 2001

    State primacy over water quantity & quality issues.

    Perry signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

    1. The states should retain primary jurisdiction over water quantity issues -- specifically water resource allocation and the determination of beneficial uses.
    2. Control of pollutants from stormwater needs to be addressed with application of Best Management Practices. The Clean Water Act (CWA) should allow flexibility in both water quality criteria and beneficial use designations for receiving waters. Stormwater discharges to dry streams in arid regions pose substantially lower environmental risks than do the same discharges to perennial surface waters.
    3. CWA reauthorization must take into account the environment in the arid West. Specifically, the CWA should recognize and Congress should provide adequate resources for the development of water quality criteria for non-perennial and effluent dependent streams.
    4. The CWA reauthorization should include two new statements of purpose:
      (A) To recognize the need to establish water quality criteria for the wide variety of ecosystems that exist in the U.S.
      (B) To allow states to encourage the reuse of treated wastewater, as a component of water quality control.
    5. The CWA should allow states flexibility in the designation of beneficial uses and establishment of criteria for certain waters, such as non-perennial and effluent dependent streams and man made water transportation canals.
    6. Non-point source funding should enable states to balance program elements and focus, as needed, on technology development and transfer, monitoring, assessment, etc. Federal agency activities should also be required to comply with state non-point source management plans.
    7. The Governors endorse the authorization of a regional water quality research project to design and develop water quality standards appropriate to unique conditions in the western states.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 16: Clean Water Act 01-WGA16 on Aug 14, 2001

    Keystone XL Pipeline fundamental to economic prosperity.

    Perry signed Letter from Governors in US and Canada to Pres. Obama

    Dear Mr. President,

    We respectfully urge you to move forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline project. The energy relationship between the US and Canada is vital to the future of both our countries.

    We consider the Keystone XL Pipeline fundamentally important to the future economic prosperity of both the US and Canada.
    Source: Letter from Governors 13-KeyXL-G on Jan 17, 2013

    Other candidates on Environment: Rick Perry on other issues:
    Incoming 2021 Biden Administration:
    Defense:Lloyd Austin
    Attorney General:Xavier Becerra
    Pres.:Joe Biden
    State:Antony Blinken
    DOT:Pete Buttigieg
    HUD:Marcia Fudge
    DOE:Jennifer Granholm
    DOI:Deb Haaland
    V.P.:Kamala Harris
    Climate:John Kerry
    DHS:Alejandro Mayorkas
    Domestic Policy:Susan Rice
    Public Liaison:Cedric Richmond
    USDA:Tom Vilsack
    Treasury:Janet Yellen

    Cabinet Archives:
    Biden Cabinet
    Biden Administration
    Trump Administration
    Biden Books
    Trump Books
    Obama Books
    Bush Books
    Former Trump Administration:

    Former Obama Administration:
    Pres.:Barack Obama
    V.P.:Joe Biden
    State:John Kerry
    HUD:Julian Castro
    State:Hillary Clinton
    Staff:Rahm Emanuel

    Former Bush Administration:
    Pres.:George W. Bush
    V.P.:Dick Cheney
    State:Colin Powell
    State:Condi Rice
    EPA:Christie Whitman

    Former Clinton Administration:
    Pres.:PBill Clinton
    V.P.:Al Gore
    HUD:Andrew Cuomo
    DOL:Robert Reich
    A.G.:Janet Reno
    Civil Rights
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Social Security
    Tax Reform

    Page last updated: Mar 14, 2021