If Donald Trump wants to purge the Department of Energy of climate science–accepting employees, he’ll have to find another way to do it. The federal agency on Tuesday said it would not provide the president-elect’s team with the list it requested of staff and contractors who worked on domestic and international efforts to reduce carbon emissions during the Obama administration.
“We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,” Energy spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder told the Washington Post in a statement, which continued (emphasis his): “We will be forthcoming with all publically-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”
The response follows last week’s disclosure that Trump’s transition team had sent a list of 74 questions to the department, which among other alarming things included a request for the names of employees involved in activities like the Paris climate talks and crafting President Obama’s greenhouse gas rules. The questionnaire set off alarm bells in Washington and raised the specter that Trump and his team were looking to push out those career civil servants who accept the scientific consensus about man-made global warming, which at science-centric agencies like the DOE is presumably most of them.
Still, the department’s refusal to comply with Trump’s request only does so much for those science-accepting employees who will soon find themselves working in a Trump administration. Trump will reportedly name Rick Perry as secretary of energy. Perry, like his future boss, has consistently denied the existence of climate change. In his 2010 book, Fed Up!, the former Texas governor dismissed efforts to address global warming as “hysteria” and described the accepted science as a “contrived phony mess.”
Perry, a man who infamously forgot the name of the Energy Department on a 2012 primary debate stage—oops!—when naming federal agencies he vowed to cut if elected, will join a list of Trump nominees that includes: EPA administrator nominee Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has made it his life’s work to undercut the mission of the EPA, and secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon-freaking-Mobil.