US climate change officials refuse to answer questions from Donald Trump’s transition team

Energy Department officials complain of an 'Inquisition' and 'harassment' of those who have worked to address global warming

Wednesday 14 December 2016 11:33
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Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has refused to answer questions issued to them by Donald Trump’s transition team.

The President-elect’s team asked officials to name department employees who had worked on securing international climate deals and domestic efforts to cut carbon emissions, prompting fears of a "witch hunt" given Mr Trump's claims that global warming is a "hoax".

One of the 74 questions included “which programmes within the Department of Energy are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan?”, the Washington Post reported.

Officials at the Department of Energy described the questions as “intrusive” and suggested Mr Trump’s team might be looking to target individual people.

“It is a remarkably aggressive and antagonistic tone to take with an agency that you’re about to try to manage,” a current employee told Politico.

Another staffer said: “Some [of the questions] are harassment, some are naive, some are legitimate."

And a third DOE employee told the Washington Post: “With some of these questions, it feels more like an Inquisition than a question, in terms of going after career employees who have been here through the Bush years to Clinton, and up to now."

Jeff Eagan, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) chapter at DOE’s headquarters, said: “There is major concern amongst my members.

"I have received lots of calls, emails, messages expressing shock and dismay.”

Eben Burnham-Snyder, a DOE spokesman, also said some of the questions had left many of the workforce unsettled.

“Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of [the] Department of Energy and the important work our department does to benefit the American people," he said.

"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 publically available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”

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