IMG_2601From growing up in a small rural town in Texas to becoming governor of his home state for 14 years to his appointment from the white house as Secretary of Energy – Rick Perry is a Texas legend.

Conservation and the environment have been a big part of Perry’s life, and in 2017 he spent his day at Earth Day Texas in Fair Park. He spent his time visiting with many of the exhibitors and learning about the latest green innovations before making a speech.

While some might be surprised to see the longtime Republican governor of a red state at the world’s largest Earth Day event, Perry takes pride in his environmental record. He talked to reporters before his speech:

Question: What is the importance of having a conference like this?

Rick Perry: I want to give a tip of the hat to Trammell Crow. Trammell’s the catalyst, he’s the engine of this I don’t know if there’s a bigger one in the world. This is big. And it’s big for a lot of reasons. I’m glad it’s in Texas so we can showcase the diversity of what we’ve done in the state both energy-wise and to the environment. Very few people know the story of Texas cleaning up our environment over the last 15 years. Nitrogen oxide levels down by 60%. SO2 levels down by 50+%. Total carbon emissions down by almost 20%. And there’s only five other countries that produce more wind than Texas does. Those are fantastic stories that can be duplicated around the world with the right leadership and the right incentives. Thank God we’ve got Trammell and we’ve got a great story to tell. People think we’re all just oil and gas. Well last week we opened the largest carbon capture post-combustion sequestration facility in the world. This is an opportunity for a young sophomore in high school to come, see something that lights this extraordinary fuse in their mind that grows into a great exchange of brain cells and creates innovation we’ve yet to even dream of.

Question: Can we expect more similar carbon capture projects like Petra Nova?

RP: The short answer is yes. The longer answer is this is a process that everybody has to look at. We have to put pen to paper. They’re not going to be funding projects that don’t make economic sense. But here’s what is as important to me – making sure this technology is available to our allies around the world, to countries that can use this tech to help reduce their carbon footprint makes a lot of sense to me. Made in America, and sold to our friends around the world. And that’s the president’s mindset as well. You’re going to see a lot of technology, not just in the carbon capture side but in a host of different ways. Because if we’re going to really affect the world it’s going to be innovation that does that.

Question: Some might be surprised that President Trump’s Energy Secretary is here at this large environmental event. Why was it important for you to be here?

RP: Why not me? Why not me, in the sense that there isn’t a governor in America that has an environmental record any more positive than me. Nitrogen oxide levels. SO2 levels. Wind energy development. Why would you send someone else?

Note: interview has been edited for length and clarity. Questions came from Fox 4 in Dallas, Business Insider and Earth Day Texas.