Beard to Present ‘Green’ Report Today
House Democratic leaders will receive a preliminary report today from their Chief Administrative Officer, Dan Beard, on recommendations for reducing the environmental impact of House office buildings.
The report stems from a request Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) made in early March in which they asked Beard to begin studying ways the Congressional campus can become more environmentally friendly.
Beard, who previously served as President Bill Clinton’s Bureau of Reclamation commissioner, was tapped by Pelosi to serve as the House’s CAO in February. While serving in the executive branch, he earned praise for his environmental efforts, including promoting water conservation among agricultural and urban water users. And even before he was sworn into his current post, Beard stressed the importance of reducing the carbon footprint and the environmental impacts of Congress.
“Environmental responsibility is our duty to future generations,” Beard wrote in the executive summary of the report that will be delivered today. “Now is the appropriate time to act to reduce our energy consumption as well as our energy dependence.”
Congress should set “the highest standards” for environmental stewardship and sustainable energy use, he wrote. “A sustainable House Capitol complex should recognize the full environmental impact of our decision on energy and water consumption, materials use and quality of our workplace.”
While Beard’s specific recommendations were not available Wednesday, he previously has discussed options for the new “Green the Capitol” initiative, including decreasing the amount of paper offices use and minimizing energy costs in office buildings.
Beard, who drives a Prius, also has said he is studying how officials can encourage Capitol Hill employees to get to work via mass transit or carpooling.
A more complete report is expected to be delivered in late June, but a Democratic source said Wednesday that one immediate step included in Beard’s recommendations concerns the use of higher-efficiency lighting in House buildings. Another Hill source noted that AOC workers were replacing light bulbs in the Speaker’s suites this week, which the source suggested signals the immediacy of the steps Pelosi has ordered.