rick perry
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reportedly Donald Trump's leading choice for energy secretary. He's pictured at Trump Tower in New York, Nov. 21, 2016. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who once said he would abolish the Department of Energy if elected president and then forgot it was one of the agencies he wanted to kill, reportedly is favored by President-elect Donald Trump to lead it.

Perry, who dropped out of the race for the 2016 Republican nomination early in the primary season, serves on the board of Energy Transfer Partners LP, the company whose pipeline project was halted in North Dakota over water contamination concerns.

Bloomberg reported Perry tops the list of candidates to head the department, including Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ray Washburne — none of whom have any scientific background.

Trump met with Perry and Washburne in Baltimore Saturday during the Army-Navy football game. He had interviewed Heitkamp in New York Dec. 2 and was scheduled to meet with Manchin Monday.

Perry was Texas longest-serving governor (2000-15). He was indicted in 2014 for abuse of power and coercion. The charges eventually were dismissed by an appellate court.

Trump’s advisers reportedly are examining the current administration’s use of national labs and programs to advance clean energy. They also are exploring ways to revive plans to store nuclear waste in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain and keep nuclear plants online longer. The agency also oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

Perry was extremely critical of Trump during the primaries.

“Let no one be mistaken: Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded,” he said in July 2015 but eventually endorsed candidate Trump.

When he first made a bid for the presidency in the 2012 cycle, Perry said he wanted to eliminate three Cabinet departments, including Energy. When he tried to come up with the names of the three departments during a primary debate, he forgot Energy was the third agency he wanted to eliminate.

“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: commerce, education and the um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said in what became known as an “oops” moment during a debate in November 2011.

The New York Post said picking Perry would solidify indications Trump’s administration would be friendly to oil and gas concerns. He reportedly favors Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a climate-change skeptic, to head Interior. He already has tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has repeatedly sued the Environmental Protection Agency, to head the EPA, and is expected to select ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.