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Donald Trump’s Transition Team Says Controversial Climate Questionnaire Wasn’t Authorized

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Donald Trump’s transition team said on Wednesday that a controversial questionnaire sent to the Department of Energy asking for the names of staffers working on climate change had not been authorized.

“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled,” the transition team said in an emailed statement.

The questionnaire, first reported by Bloomberg last week, asked the Department of Energy to provide names of employees who attended U.N. climate conferences and worked on an initiative to measure the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions. The questionnaire raised concerns within the agency’s ranks that the nascent Trump Administration might try to purge the department of staffers who worked on global-warming issues.

“What was disturbing was what seemed to be targeting of career service employees,” said Jonathan Levy, a former deputy chief of staff at the department. “The people at the Department of Energy are the most important asset at the department, and they’re incredibly talented.”

Trump has signaled that he intends to keep a campaign promise to roll back the environmental regulations put in place under President Obama. His choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has sued the agency on multiple occasions to block climate regulations. His Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil and an opponent of many policies to address climate change. And his pick to lead the Department of Energy, former Texas governor Rick Perry, has questioned the scientific consensus of climate change.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com