Author’s Note: One of the things that really irritates me about conservative ideology is that it’s short-sighted. Instead of making decisions that are best for their grandkids, the GOP revels in choosing the most attractive option for today only, and to hell with tomorrow.
The USA is in debt. Lots of it. Spending must be dramatically reduced, yes, but also strategically. It’s interesting (and disheartening) to see which programs the new GOP House has targeted first.
Last week, Committee on House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., announced that he has directed the House Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to suspend the House composting program after a recent review of the program.
The food composting program started three years ago as part of the “Green the Capitol initiative” under the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and included the use of biodegradable drinking straws and utensils in House cafeterias.
A press aide to John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, announced the suspension with glee as he tweeted on Monday morning: “The new majority – plasticware is back.”
The composting program delivered the biodegradable waste generated by the House to a site in Beltsville, Md., which cut back on the amount of waste and money directed at landfills, according to The Hill.
If information provided by the House IG and the CAO is accurate, the composting program has increased the House’s overall operating costs by an estimated $475,000 annually. These sources also allege that the program increased the House’s energy consumption through the use of additional electricity for the pulping process and the increased hauling distance to the composting facility.
The Hill reports that, “In Maryland, the composted material was turned into fertilizer and blended into soil over a period of 75 days. The soil was then returned to Capitol Hill where it was used as fertilizer in Capitol gardens. Hundreds of tons of refuse was diverted to the composting sites instead of a landfill each month, according to statistics from former CAO employees.”
In Lungren’s press release about suspending the program, there was no mention of money saved by repurposing the compost in this way. There was also no mention of the larger example that’s set by a government that makes the “small changes” it’s asking of its populace.
Also, the press release mentions that according to the IG, the program has only achieved carbon reductions equivalent to removing one car from the road each year.
Yet, the EPA says that the average passenger vehicle in America produces 3284.887 pounds of CO2e each year. And common composting statistics say that if 1 person composted all their food waste for a year, it would shave 3,000 pounds of carbon emissions off their annual footprint. There are 435 members of the House, so the carbon reduction estimates produced by “the new majority” seem to be a little off.
If you think the whole thing stinks, sign this petition:
Tell The GOP: Save The House Composting Program!
Image Credit: Flickr - stevendepolo