WASHINGTON Dec 14 President-elect Donald
Trump's transition team on Wednesday disavowed a survey sent to
the U.S. Department of Energy that requested the names of people
working on climate change in the agency.
"The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our
standard protocol," Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said. "The
person who sent it has been properly counseled."
Spicer declined to comment further on the team's protocols.
The survey of 74 questions, which the Energy Department
received last Tuesday, asked for the names of workers and
contractors who had attended U.N. climate meetings. It also
asked for the names of those who had attended meetings on the
social cost of carbon, a metric that federal agencies use in
formulating regulations on the energy business.
The department had balked at the survey this week, saying it
would not comply. "We are going to respect the professional and
scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our
labs and across our department," department spokesman Eben
Burnham-Snyder said on Tuesday.
"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 survey had also asked for a list of all the professional
society memberships that workers at the department's 17
laboratories belong to.
The White House weighed in on the survey this week. Josh
Earnest, a White House spokesman, said the questionnaire "could
have been an attempt to target civil servants" including career
scientists and lawyers and other experts critical to the
government's ability to make policy.
Trump, a Republican, said during the campaign that climate
change was a hoax perpetrated by China to damage U.S.
manufacturing. He said he would rip up last year's landmark
global climate deal struck in Paris that was signed by
Democratic President Barack Obama.
Since winning however, Trump has said he will keep an "open
mind" about the Paris deal. He also met with former Vice
President Al Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, strong advocates
for action on climate change.
Trump has picked climate skeptic Rick Perry to run the
Energy Department. Perry, governor of Texas from December 2000
to January 2015, would replace nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Emily Stephenson; editing by