U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will resign sometime later this year.
The resignation was announced in a letter from Perry to President Donald Trump on Thursday. The U.S. Department of Energy provided a brief statement about Perry’s resignation in a press release on Thursday and included a copy of his resignation letter.
The Thursday letter didn’t give a specific date for Perry’s resignation, except to say that he plans to “resign at a date later this year.”
“The secretary is immensely grateful to President Trump and the American people for this opportunity to serve and looks forward to continuing to support the president’s agenda after he returns home to Texas later this year,” the DOE statement said.
During a visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in May, Perry dismissed a news story that he planned to leave DOE, and he suggested the story was the product of a “rumor factory.”
Perry said then that he had no immediate or near-term plans to leave DOE—”not today, not tomorrow.”
But that left unanswered the question of how long he might stay.
Bloomberg News reported in April that Perry was planning his exit. The news agency said Perry’s departure was not imminent, but he had seriously contemplated leaving the post for weeks. That reporting was disputed at the time by an Energy Department spokeswoman, who said Perry was happy serving Trump and leading DOE.
Perry has reportedly enjoyed a good rapport with the president and he seemed to have avoided any scandals or controversy, but his resignation announcement comes as he faces scrutiny for his role in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. He has a Friday deadline to comply with a congressional subpoena as part of the impeachment inquiry led by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trump told reporters Thursday that Perry has been outstanding during his more than two years of service, according to CNN.
Perry had called for eliminating DOE during the 2012 presidential campaign, but he now says that being energy secretary is the “coolest” job he’s ever had. (On Thursday, DOE said Perry released the following video message to department employees: “The Coolest Job I’ve Ever Had.”)
DOE includes national laboratories such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear weapons laboratories and production sites such as the Y-12 National Security Complex, and an environmental management, or cleanup, program at sites like East Tennessee Technology Park (the former K-25 site).
During his first visit to Oak Ridge in May 2017, Perry pledged to be an advocate for at least some DOE programs. Earlier, he had said during his confirmation hearing that he regretted his earlier call to eliminate DOE. After being briefed on many vital functions of DOE, he no longer believed that it should be eliminated, Perry said.
During a stop in Hardin Valley two years ago, Perry acknowledged he had learned a lot since the 2012 campaign, including in his visit to Oak Ridge, at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C., and in trips to national labs. He suggested he might not be the only one unaware of some of the innovations that have roots in or are developed in places like Oak Ridge, innovations like gene therapy, supercomputing, and 3D printing. The American public may also not be aware of how that “cutting-edge” technology can be used to create jobs and wealth, Perry said.
Since then, Perry has advocated for supercomputing and cyber security initiatives, continued to learn more about 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, and cited the importance of research that could help with medical breakthroughs, among other programs.
Read a copy of Perry’s resignation letter to Trump below:
Dear Mr. President,
The opportunity to serve in your Cabinet as the Secretary of Energy of the United States has been an extreme honor. The citizens of this country will continue to benefit greatly from the policies and accomplishments of your Administration for years to come. Your leadership has positively changed the course of this country, and there is much to be proud of, especially in the energy sector.
Mr. President, for decades, American Presidents have talked about the importance of energy independence. Under your watch, it has finally been achieved. We no longer depend on other nations for our energy supply—nor are we beholden to the geopolitics of other world leaders for our energy security. Instead, we arrive in their capitals espousing the benefits of American energy resources, technology and services. I can attest first hand that the demand for our product is stronger than it has ever been, and under your leadership that will only multiply.
Across the world, we are competing like we never have before. Not long ago, America was an importer of energy. Now, the U.S. private sector is leading the world in energy production, exploration and exports. This historic success speaks to your leadership and willingness to go places where other leaders never thought possible. Today, when the world looks for energy, they can now think of America first.
The work being done across the Department of Energy and throughout our national labs to develop more abundant, less expensive and cleaner energy is world-class. From reviving our commercial nuclear energy industry to producing historic levels of domestic oil and gas and renewable energy, America has seen a remarkable turnaround in our energy industry.
The Department of Energy has also embraced, with success, the national security mission of modernizing our nuclear enterprise to make sure our weapons are safe and work as designed. We have also achieved unprecedented success in the clean-up of our nuclear facilities.
Mr. President, the American energy story is being written every day by millions of men and women in the workforce who are innovating and dedicating themselves to achieving greatness.
A perfect example of this are the men and women who are part of the DOE mission. They will be the ones who are at the forefront of innovation, such as with artificial intelligence and cyber security.
I am proud to have established the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response and the Office of Artificial Intelligence and Technology. These new offices will help to provide the underlying research and building blocks for government and the private sector to work together in tackling challenges and pursuing opportunities.
An important part of the American energy story is what we are doing with science and technology to make our air cleaner. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen dramatically, with remissions from the electric power sector at their lowest levels since 1987. During the same time, energy-related carbon emissions fell at an even greater pace. This was achieved through American innovation
Now more than ever, I believe strongly in the mission of the Department of Energy. The people across the enterprise have a sincere commitment to this country. I feel comfortable that the Department is well prepared to continue this mission with new leadership at the helm.
It has been a tremendous honor to serve our country in your administration in such a meaningful way. Anita and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to further supporting you and advancing American leadership in significant ways as a private citizen.
Please accept this letter as my official notification that I plan to resign at a date later this year.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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