Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said President Trump and the U.S. have a "great story" to tell about the environment. Perry said America is leading the world in the reduction of energy-related emissions in an interview with FNC's Martha MacCallum on Monday.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump today touting the successes of his administration's efforts to promote a healthy environment, arguing, interestingly, that he says a robust economy and clean energy are not mutually exclusive. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For years, politicians told Americans that a strong economy and a vibrant energy sector were incompatible with a healthy environment.
A strong economy is vital to maintaining a healthy environment.
We are unlocking American energy in the United States is now a net exporter of clean, affordable, American natural gas. We are exporting all over the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here now in a “Story” exclusive tonight, Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Secretary, good to see you tonight. Thank you for being with us.
RICK PERRY, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, the fact that the president was even giving a speech on the environment raised a lot of eyebrows and had sort of critics going, really? We don't think this is really a priority for the administration.
What do you say?
PERRY: Yes. Well, I’m always amazed that people would say that. This president does care about the environment, and he's doing something about it. When you think about the clean energy that America is delivering around the world, whether it's in the form of liquefied natural gas, or whether it's in our renewable technologies, whether it's in our nuclear energy technologies that are going around the world, we are displacing literally tons and tons of old, dirty-burning gas emissions and coal emissions in Europe and replacing them with clean-burning natural gas.
So, the president has got a great story to tell, not to mention the jobs that get created and the wealth, and the quality of life that comes with that. So, I don't find it odd at all that President Trump is talking about the environment, talking about the economy in the same breath.
MACCALLUM: He definitely has a different approach. You know, I think that the EPA under President Obama was criticized by businesses in America for being too aggressive in terms of increasing regulations that businesses felt were, you know, unfair in many cases, and you all have worked to roll those back.
You know, the EPA isn't even an agency that we hear a lot about in the Trump presidency. We don’t -- you know, we haven't heard from you a lot on this front in that. Why is that?
PERRY: Well, I don't know why you haven't heard from me a lot, I travel internationally a substantial amount, selling LNG all across the country -- 36 different countries now are buying liquefied natural gas from the United States.
And frankly, you know, the EPA shouldn't be heard from him, when I think about it. This ought to be an agency that's out there doing its work, getting rid of the regulations that are stopping businesses from getting done getting to what they need to do and putting practices that help clean up the environment.
America is leading the world in the reduction of energy-related emissions. I mean, that's a great story, it's one that you we are to be parroting and talking about and being quite proud of.
So, Thursday, when we had a great tribute to American and American military, one of those stories was about American energy, and the freedom that's being delivered around the globe by American LNG in particular.
MACCALLUM: Well, that has been a great story. There’s no doubt about that. You know, the critics, as I mentioned, would talk about the rollback of these regulations, also EPA data shows an increase in fine particulate matter emissions like soot and smoke from the combustion of coal and oil since President Trump took office.
What would your response be to those who point to that?
PERRY: Well, number one, I think they are wrong in their numbers. So, when you look at what's happening around the world --
MACCALLUM: But that's EPA data.
PERRRY: You may see that from the Europeans from the standpoint of what they're doing and from the standpoint of the increases in particulate matter, but I don't find that to be the fact here in the United States.
I think we are removing those older inefficient power plants. I will give you a good example in a state of Texas when I was the governor, NOx emissions went down -- the sulfur dioxide emissions went down by 50 percent, we had an almost 20 percent reduction of carbon dioxide.
So, the fact is that as we put more old inefficient plants off-line and replace them with liquefied natural gas, with gas plants basically, you're going to see continual reduction of emissions and particulate matter.
MACCALLUM: All right. Just last question for you with regard to climate change. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity. Do you agree with them?
PERRY: Listen, the climate is changing, there's not any doubt about that. We can have arguments about it isn't happening for this reason or that. Here's what I think we all agree on, that we need to live in a world that has cleaner air. And America and American natural gas, American innovation, that's what is going to change the world from the standpoint of having clean air.
So, America is leading on that. This president is leading on that, and, you know, regardless of what your politics are, you ought to celebrate the victories that the United States is having when it comes to the environment.
MACCALLUM: One last quick one. In April, there were a bunch of stories that said you were thinking of leaving the agency. What do you say about that?
PERRY: I’m still standing.
MACCALLUM: Are you going to be there for the remainder of this term and into the next if the president wants to keep it there?
PERRY: If the president wants to keep me here, I’ve got a pretty good idea, I’m going to be standing and doing my work and continue to work with him and continue to work for the American people to really drive the energy economy in this country.