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Energy Secretary-designate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is sworn-in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Rick Perry rejected the Trump team’s request to identify climate change workers


Department of Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry on Thursday rejected the Trump transition team's controversial request to name all DOE employees and contractors who have worked on climate change projects.

In a repudiation of his future boss, the former Texas governor said during his confirmation hearing that he does "not approve" of the transition team questionnaire. "That went out before I was ever selected to be the nominee,” he said.

I didn't approve it. I don't approve of it.
Rick Perry

Perry vows to protect science

“I didn’t approve it. I don’t approve of it. I don’t need that information. I don’t want that information," Perry said, adding that he would protect the DOE's climate change research.

“I’m going to protect all of the science, whether it’s related to the climate or other aspects of what we’re going to be doing,” he said.

Perry implied climate scientists would have nothing to worry about at his DOE.

Trump's request

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team sparked controversy in December when it sent out a 74-question document to the DOE, asking, among other things, for "the names of career employees and contractors who have attended U.N. climate talks over the past five years."

Because Trump himself has said he thinks climate science is a "hoax," the document was unsettling to many in the agency, who feared for their jobs, NPR reported

The questionnaire

Here's the full questionnaire Trump's transition team sent to the DOE in December. 

DOE snubs request

The Department of Energy never responded to that part of the Trump team's questionnaire.

"We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department," spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said at the time.

Perry on climate science

Like many of Trump's other cabinet nominees, Perry said at his hearing that he doesn't hold the belief that climate change is a "hoax," as the president-elect does. But Perry would not go as far as to fully accept the opinion of the vast majority of climate scientists, who say climate change is mostly caused by human activity.

"I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is caused by manmade activity," Perry said.

Perry regrets promise to eliminate DOE

During his hearing, Perry said he regretted his promise to eliminate the DOE altogether. Perry infamously forgot DOE’s name when he called for its elimination in a 2011 Republican presidential primary debate.

"I regret recommending its elimination," he said. "If confirmed, I will enter this role excited and passionate about advocating and advancing the core missions of DOE."

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