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Trump Transition Seeking Info on National Labs

Energy flow chart, 2015

U.S. energy accounting flow chart; click on image for full-size display (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

9 December 2016. The transition team for president-elect Donald Trump is seeking details about activities of U.S. national labs and programs related to climate change operated by Department of Energy. The questions for Department of Energy were contained in a questionnaire obtained and published today by the New York Times.

The form asks 9 questions about the national labs, including specific items about the highest 20 salaried employees at the labs, and publications, web sites, and professional societies of by staff at the labs. In addition, the questionnaire asks for cooperative research and development grants, as well as licensing and royalty proceeds.

Many of the 74 items on the questionnaire ask for details related to climate change, including specific questions about the programs considered essential to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and ARPA-E — Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy — projects. Two other questions asked about the Energy Department’s role in the agreement with Iran to curb that country’s nuclear weapons work.

Some 15 questions ask about the Energy Information Administration. Several of the questions ask about specific methods for calculating energy costs or challenge outcomes published in recent reports. Science & Enterprise reports on the annual accounting of national energy supply and demand compiled by Livermore National Lab, with data compiled by Energy Information Administration. The chart for 2015 from the latest report is at the top.

Energy Department employees who shared the questionnaire with the New York Times call the questionnaire unprecedented and worrying. One source told the Times the questions “amount to a with hunt in DoE’s 17 national labs, where scientists have the independence to do their work. Yet here are questions that are reminiscent of an inquisition rather than actual curiosity about how the labs work.”

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