Not all Democrats were on board, however. Many were concerned about the carbon dioxide emissions created by burning the waste and worried that the program would interfere with recycling initiatives.
“I don’t agree with it,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the House Administration Committee. “Why the Republicans are choosing pollution at every step is beyond me.”
Architect of the Capitol spokeswoman Eva Malecki stressed that the new program would not interfere with the Capitol’s “robust recycling process.”
A waste-to-energy plant has not been selected, but facilities run by Covanta Energy are possible contenders, given their proximity to the Capitol. Paul Gilman, Covanta’s chief sustainability officer, said the facilities are regulated to keep emissions at safe levels.
“The concerns that people have about emissions are a concern of almost two decades ago,” he said. “The industry is dramatically different because of the Clean Air Act and the regulations that came from them.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.