En­ergy sec­re­tary de­fends us­ing char­ter to Ha­zle­ton

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORT

U.S. En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rick Perry said he flew in a char­ter plane when vis­it­ing Ha­zle­ton be­cause the city’s air­port doesn’ t have com­mer­cial flights, nor does the air­port in Ohio to which he flew af­ter leav­ing Ha­zle­ton.

Perry tes­ti­fied about his travel on Thurs­day be­fore a panel of the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee where the top Demo­crat, U.S. Rep. Frank Pal­lone of New Jer­sey, had crit­i­cized his travel spend­ing, The Hill re­ported on­line.

Perry said get­ting to Ha­zle­ton would have been dif­fi­cult but not im­pos­si­ble if he had not taken a char­ter flight.

Af­ter land­ing in Ha­zle­ton on Sept. 28, Perry and U.S. Rep. Lou Bar­letta, R-11, Ha­zle­ton, vis­ited Eber­vale to see how Jeddo Coal re­claims rare earth met­als from waste coal us­ing a $1 mil­lion grant from the En­ergy Depart­ment.

From Ha­zle­ton, Perry flew to Portsmouth Re­gional Air­port to visit the En­ergy Depart­ment fa­cil­ity.

Nor­mally, Perry said he flies on com­mer­cial air­lines, but The Hill re­ported that he spent $56,000 when fly­ing on char­ter plane sand govern­ment planes for of­fi­cial busi­ness.

While Perry and three other Cabi­net mem­bers are un­der scru­tiny for their travel ex­penses, Tom Price re­signed as sec­re­tary of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices last month af­ter be­ing crit­i­cized for his trav­els. Price, his staff and peo­ple trav­el­ing with him spent more than $400,000 on char­ter planes.

STAN­DARD-SPEAKER FILE

U.S. En­ergy Sec­re­tar y Rick Perr y stands in front of a Dragline ex­ca­va­tor shovel while ad­dress­ing em­ploy­ees of the Jeddo Coal Co. dur­ing a tour of the fa­cil­ity in Eber vale on Sept. 28.

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