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Energy Department officials won’t give names of climate workers to Trump’s team

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Trump’s request surprised DOE leaders

President-Elect Donald Trump Attends Annual Army Navy Football Game Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Energy Department officials have refused to provide President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team with a list of names of employees who have attended various climate meetings, according to The Washington Post.

Last week, Bloomberg first reported that Trump’s team had sent a questionnaire to the Department of Energy inquiring about a variety of DOE programs and activities. Some of the questions, however, also asked for “a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors” who have attended United Nations climate meetings, as well as meetings on the “social cost of carbon” — a way of estimating the economic damages associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

As we noted in an op-ed, the request was alarming and intimidating, and was viewed as singling out civil service employees and scientists who had worked on climate change during the Obama administration. Trump’s request surprised and worried DOE leaders, as well as some members of Congress. Today, the Department of Energy said that the agency won’t comply with the request and won’t give out employees’ names.

“The Department of Energy received significant feedback from our workforce throughout the department, including the National Labs, following the release of the transition team’s questions. Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” Eben Burnham-Snyder, a department spokesman, told the Washington Post. “Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.”

He added: “We will be forthcoming with all publically-available (sic) information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.” (Burnham-Snyder’s email used the boldface.)