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House Casts Off Pelosi’s Green Program

Tom Williams/Roll Call
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's Green the Capitol Initiative was folded into an existing energy reduction initiative handled by the Architect of the Capitol, officials said.

House Republicans undid a key component of the program when they took control of the chamber this year, canceling the composting program and replacing compostable cups and tableware in House cafeterias with Styrofoam and plastic products.

The legislative branch appropriations bill also rolled back millions of dollars in funding for energy demonstration projects. An amendment to the fiscal 2011 continuing resolution by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) earlier this year sought to defund the program entirely.

In a March hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Ayers noted that having two separate energy reduction goals for two sides of the Capitol complex can be complicated, especially when it comes to calculating which energy is consumed by which chamber.

But AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki said the sustainability program might exceed the mandate.

“We are continuing to work at reducing energy by 30 percent by 2015, and we’re not going to stop there,” Malecki said. “We’re basically continuing to do what we have been doing in collaboration with the CAO.”

The Green the Capitol Twitter and Facebook accounts have been deleted, and the CAO website dedicated to the initiative now redirects to an AOC website outlining the agency’s sustainability practices.

While there were once seven employees managing the program, only one remains.

The outreach end of the initiative will be folded into the already existent Power to Save program, which seeks to educate Hill staff about ways to be more energy efficient.

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