Pucker Up, It’s a Partisan Planet

Ok, the U.S. isn’t the whole world but the concept is true more often than not.  Since shaking the Capitol with some control, Republicans in the U.S. Federal Government have been working hard to excise funding and support for green initiatives started under Democratic leadership.  Coverage has focused on the defunding of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif.,“Green the Capitol” campaign, which she began in 2007 when she became speaker of the house.

The official report on “Green the Capitol” stated in April 2010, that following the initial 30-month construction period, results show a 23% reduction in energy consumption and a 32% reduction in water consumption.  Cost reductions of approximately $3.3 million USD are expected in energy savings alone.  A second 27-month construction period to Capitol infrastructure brings the estimated reduction in energy consumption to 38%, saving an additional $2.2 million USD annually.

Some credit for the reductions goes to the installation of high-efficiency lighting and also around 13,000 compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).  The report attributes more than 1.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity saved annually to using the new bulbs.  Each bulb pays for itself in a few months and accounts for $12.50 USD of savings per bulb annually.

Many of the steps being taken are steps that have also been taken buy bussinesses and residences across the U.S. and around the globe.  Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., feels the republicans are sending the wrong message.  Republicans routinely talk of reducing expenditures but, according to Blumenauer, by ending the green plan before it is fully implemented an additional $50 million USD will be incurred by taxpayers over the next 10 years.

ABC News quotes Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.,: "Let's not perpetuate this. It takes more energy, it costs taxpayers money and it doesn't work."  Walden may have been referring to the greening of the Capitol cafeteria which did include $475,000 USD to haul compostable waste to be processed in Virginia.  Of course, there is still a fee to haul the compostable waste to a landfill.

As part of the un-greening of the cafeteria, republicans have brought back styrofoam and disposable plastic utensils.  Republicans are quick to complain about the quality of the environmentally friendly alternatives they have been using.  Many sound-bites have been uttered about dissolving spoons and requiring multiple cups to insulate beverages.

ABC’s report quotes current Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, “I like the food we had before -- real food -- food I can pronounce the name of," unlike the health minded alternatives “Green the Capitol” had brought to the table.  How can the man be expected to have concern for the health of the environment if he isn’t even concerned about his personal health?

Photo Credit: Hillary