Despite demands from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, the Department of Energy refused today to name department personnel who have worked on climate change programs. According to Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnhan-Snyder, the department has received “significant feedback” from staff members concerned about a questionnaire sent from the transition team that was leaked last week. “Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” Burnhan-Snyder said.
The transition sent to staffers a questionnaire that included more than 70 questions that asked about what Energy does, and concerning costs, workforce, and staffers’ professional affiliations. Also, there was included a request of the names of staff who have worked on climate change issues during President Obama’s term in office. These include the Paris climate agreement, as well as the supposed social cost of carbon, as well as accounting for the costs of climate change.
“We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,” Burnhan-Snyder said in a statement today.
“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 last sentence in Bruhan-Snyder's statement was in boldface in his email response.
Tony Reardon -- who presides over the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents Energy employees -- declared in a statement,“My members are upset and have questions about what this means. These are all civil servants who do their jobs.” Reardon added, “They have no wish to be caught up in political winds — they are nonpartisan employees — scientists, engineers, statisticians, economists and financial experts — who were hired for their knowledge and they bring their talent and experience to the job every day,” he said, adding that the union “will do all it can to ensure that merit system rules are followed.”
In 2016, the union contributed a total of $515,000 to federal candidates. The total given to Democrats in the House of Representatives was $375,000, while the union contributed only $19,000 to House Republicans. In the Senate, the union kicked in $119,000 to Democrats, while it contributed $2,000 to Republicans. The recipients of the largest contributions of all were Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Sen. Ted Strickland (D-OH), who received $10.000 each.
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