President-elect Donald Trump‘s transition team recently circulated a questionnaire to Energy Department officials asking them to name employees and contractors who attended international climate change meetings over the past five years. The department’s response to what one congressman has labeled a “witch hunt” and “environmental McCarthyism?” Bugger off! DOE has decided to reject Trump’s request to hand over names of workers who were involved in President Obama’s climate change policies.
“Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people,” Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Tuesday. “We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department. We will be forthcoming with all publicly available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”
The federal agency with an annual budget of $30 billion and more than 90,000 employees could soon be led by former Texas governor Rick Perry, who has said that he wants to eliminate the agency, although at a 2011 Republican presidential primary debate he couldn’t remember the name of the agency when he attempted to list the departments he would get rid of. During the Obama Administration DOE has been guided by Nobel laureate Dr. Steven Chu followed by Dr. Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist. Perry is a climate change denier with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry so DOE employees have reason to be concerned about a coming purge.
The questionnaire also sought to name employees who worked on the Social Cost of Carbon, a measurement used by federal agencies to determine the benefits and costs of new energy and environmental regulations. The list of 74 questions also asked for all publications written by employees at the department’s 17 national laboratories for the past three years.
According to Energy.gov, the mission of the Department of Energy is to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”