DOE pushes back on Climate-Change ‘witch hunt’

The Washington Post is reporting that the Department of Energy (DOE)  will refuse to respond to the President-elect Donald J. Trump-transition-team’s request to turn over the names of employees involved in working on Climate Change matters.

Citing overwhelming feedback from DOE employees, spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder wrote an email to the employees, saying the nature of some of the questions left employees unsettled — and that the department was committed to respecting their integrity and independence, reports Joe Davidson, a columnist at the Post.

Burnham-Snyder closed his email with the following statement (emphasis in the original, according to the Post):

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 union representing DOE employees says it has had a flood of phone calls and emails expressing worry about the potential effects of the questionnaire on the future of their careers.

“There is major concern amongst my members,” said Jeff Eagan, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) chapter at the department’s headquarters building in Washington told the Post. (He’s also a 17-year Energy employee, but was speaking in his union capacity). “I have received lots of calls, emails, messages expressing shock and dismay.”

Although DOE employees are unionized, The Post reports that Trump advisers have urged him to fire feds faster and Energy staffers know protections for senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been weakened.

They also fear being marginalized in the next administration, leaving Climate Change in the hands of fossil-fuel supporting advisors, including incoming Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

As pv magazine reported yesterday, a questionnaire from Trump’s transition team is seeking the names of federal employees with any ties to solving Climate Change strategically. The memo also hinted at preparations for the dismantling of clean energy programs at DOE.