Late Monday, Trump announced that Perry—a man who once simultaneously pledged to eliminate the Department of Energy if elected president and forgot it existed—would head the department, plucking Perry from the circle of hell known as Dancing With the Stars and placing him back in the political arena. (Perry was also the recipient of what might have been Trump’s greatest insult of the primary: “He put on glasses so people will think he’s smart. And it just doesn’t work, you know, people can see through the glasses.”)
There are many reasons why Perry’s nomination will be opposed by Democrats, the biggest of which is that he is a climate change denier. The Department of Energy has been responsible for studying and responding to the effect of climate change, and it has never had someone who is so hostile towards climate science at its helm before, even in George W. Bush’s administration.
But Perry is also on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Activists cheered earlier this month when that pipeline was blocked after months of protest, but Perry’s nomination is one of several signals that the pipeline—along with the Keystone XL pipeline—will likely be back on. Asked about the pipelines by Chris Wallace on Sunday, Trump was coy, sort of. “When I get to office, if it’s not solved, I’ll have it solved very quickly,” he said. The subtext was clear: Trump wants to greenlight the pipelines.