President-elect Donald Trump's transition team said the questionnaire sent last week to the Energy Department asking for the names of employees working on climate change was not authorized, according to Reuters. The questionnaire raised alarm for singling out climate scientists, and was criticized by some members of Congress and the White House.
"The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol," Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told Reuters. "The person who sent it has been properly counseled." Spicer declined to comment further.
The 74 questions sent by the transition team inquired 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 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.
Trump’s request surprised and worried DOE leaders. This week, the agency’s officials announced they will not give the names to the Trump administration. Today’s rebuttal from Trump’s team might signal the return to a smooth transition at the Department of Energy, a department spokesman told Reuters.