In a letter sent today to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, top Democrats in congress are concerned that #Donald Trump’s transition team is targeting DOE employees who have worked on #Climate Change policy. The letter was sent after the Department of Energy (DOE) received a list of questions from the transition team, some of which were standard and others they believe were out of bounds and “unprecedented.”
While members of the #Democratic Party want the original letter the transition team sent to the Energy Department, “Bloomberg” obtained the questionnaire earlier this week. It reported the Trump team asked the DOE to list all contractors and employees who attended U.N.-sponsored climate summits and those that helped developed the president’s social cost of carbon metrics.
We won’t comply
Agency spokesperson Eben Burnham-Snyder told the “Washington Post” they would not comply with the information and not provide any individual names. The DOE said it would only give out publicly available information to the transition team. That prompted activists to spread a rumor that Trump was planning on deleting climate change databases, leading the University of Toronto to sponsor a ‘hackathon’ to protect climate data.
Social cost of carbon
Burnham-Snyder said the DOE left many of their workers “unsettled” after getting significant feedback from the department. While many of the questions were standard fare, anything questioning the social cost of carbon (SCC) is a red flag for Democrats. President Obama used SCC to make costly DOE regulations appear cost-effective when pushing forward his global warming agenda.
After Obama was elected president eight years ago, he promptly reoriented the Energy Department to focus on renewables like wind and solar and canceled President George W. Bush’s work on developing an all-hydrogen society. When hydrogen combusts, it produces water vapor and oxygen. Obama also repurposed the EPA under former head Lisa Jackson and had it classify the trace gas carbon dioxide as ‘harmful,’ which then gave the EPA power to regulate it.
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings and Frank Pallone wrote in the letter they were “concerned that these efforts to single out particular Department employees involved in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be an attempt to target DOE employees whose scientific views on climate change differ from those of the incoming Trump administration.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell wrote in a Tuesday letter to current Secretary Ernest Moniz that the “unprecedented questions” indicate the Trump administration may be planning to take capricious action against career employees and DOE contractors because they worked on climate change.” She added the “potential ramifications are chilling.” Another explanation could be that he wants the most knowledgeable people to help him craft sound environmental policy.
Critics say much of this is stagecraft to further delegitimize President-elect Trump before he takes office. Even the White House chimed in and said they side with the Energy Department’s decision not to comply with the transition team’s request. It’s very difficult to dislodge a career government official without cause, and the next four years will likely be Obama appointees leaking information to the press to discredit the new president.