The Latest: Trump energy chief defends costly plane travel
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the Trump administration's energy plan (all times local):
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is defending his costly travel on private and government planes, saying such trips are sometimes necessary for him to do his job.
Perry told a House energy subcommittee Thursday that his agency has research labs and other facilities in many remote places. He says he also receives numerous invitations from members of Congress to visit their states.
Perry jokingly says that while he "could even hitchhike," it is sometimes most efficient for him to use private aircraft.
The Energy Department says Perry has taken at least six trips on government or private planes costing an estimated $56,000. The trips have included visits to facilities in Washington, Idaho and New Mexico.
Several Trump administration officials' travel expenses have recently attracted public attention.
The Trump administration says coal is back and nuclear energy is cool. But an unusual coalition of business and environmental groups says that should not be at the expense of natural gas, wind and solar.
Dow Chemical, Koch Industries and U.S. Steel Corp. are standing with environmentalists in opposing an Energy Department plan that would reward nuclear and coal-fired power plants for adding reliability to the nation's power grid. And they are pressuring the administration to shift course.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the plan is needed to help prevent widespread outages such as those caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and a 2014 "polar vortex" in the Eastern and Central U.S.