Department Of Energy Refuses To Name Climate Change Workers In Trump Team's "Witch Hunt"


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Grumpy face. a katz/Shutterstock

Just recently, Trump’s transition team sent a controversial and peculiar questionnaire to the Department of Energy (DoE), one which required staff to name all those who to their knowledge had been working on climate change research. Seen by many as a witch hunt designed to purge the DoE of what the President-elect views as undesirable elements, it was unclear how the staff there were going to proceed.

As reported by the Washington Post, we now have an answer – the department is refusing to comply. Officials released a statement declaring that the questionnaire had left staff shaken, then defiant.


“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,” the statement by Eben Burnham-Snyder, a DoE spokesperson, began. “Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled.”

Unsettled is somewhat of an understatement. Plenty of Congressional Democrats expressed their dismay at the transition team’s demands, with Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, referring to it as “a scare tactic to intimidate federal employees who are simply doing their jobs and following the facts.”

The statement continued to strike a rebellious tone, and even used bold font to make its point emphatically clear.

“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,” Burnham-Snyder’s email continued. “We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.


Trump, as we know, severely dislikes disobedience, so it will be interesting to see how he’ll react to this refreshing pushback.

This is far from the only salvo he’s launched at the DoE, however. Reports suggest that Rick “Oops” Perry – a man who wanted to abolish the DoE but failed to remember what it was even called back in 2012 – is, remarkably, Trump’s pick to head the DoE. It’s unlikely that anyone at the department will be keen to welcome Perry, a fumbling climate change denier, into the cabinet.


In fact, denying that climate change is linked to human activity seems to guarantee that you will have a top job in Trump’s administration. From the future head of the Environmental Protection Agency to the Secretary of the Interior, the Trumpian Empire is full of anti-scientific blusterers.

So right now, the DoE is up against a legion of officials who seem to want to dismantle or destroy it, and the department should be applauded for its refusal to capitulate.


Your move, Donald.

[H/T: Washington Post]


  • tag
  • climate change,

  • Rebel Alliance,

  • trump,

  • questionnaire,

  • Department of Energy,

  • transition team,

  • concern,

  • refusal