Trump DOE witch hunt questionnaire suggests attacks on renewable energy & staff

The President's proposed budget, released this morning, proposes cutting the EPA's budget to inflation-adjusted 1976 levels.

Late last week, a document emerged in which transition team of President-Elect Donald Trump seeks the names of federal employees who worked on issues related to Climate Change, as well as suggesting preparations for a dismantling of clean energy programs at DOE.

The document contains 65 questions which the team is asking of the Department of Energy (DOE), as well as an additional nine questions for the nation’s national laboratories, covering a range of topics from electric vehicles to Climate Change conferences to offshore wind, but solar is mentioned only twice.

What the document does do is to specifically ask for the names of DOE employees and contractors who have attended meetings regarding attempts to strategically tackle Climate Change, including the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon and UN Climate Change conferences.

The questionnaire prompted a letter by U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), warning of a “witch hunt” and advising the Trump Administration that it would be illegal to use any of the information that is collected is used to fire or discriminate against federal employees who worked on these issues.

“Any politically motivated inquisition against federal civil servants who, under the direction of a previous administration, carried out policies that you now oppose, would call into question your commitment to the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power,” wrote Senator Markey in the letter.

“Civil servants should never be punished for having executed policies with which a new administration disagrees. That would be tantamount to an illegal modern-day political witch hunt, and would have a profoundly chilling impact on our dedicated federal workforce.”

The two questions dealing with solar were directed towards the DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), which began publishing the output of distributed solar in its Electric Power Monthly publication only a year ago. The questions show that the Trump transition team, which is led the president of two fossil fuel front groups, is already trying to dictate methodologies at DOE.

57 Renewable and solar technologies are expected to need additional transmission costs above what fossil technologies need. How has EIA represented this in the A130 forecasts? What is the magnitude of those transmission costs?

Additionally, the questionnaire asks detailed information about loans under the DOE’s loan programs office, questions regarding electric vehicle support programs, and questions whether or not DOE has included costs for additional backup power in their assessments of the cost of solar technologies.

Only two questions of the 65 directed at DOE deal with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE); however pv magazine‘s sources report that EERE is being brought up for a meeting with the Trump transition team this morning.