I'm sure this could all be resolved if Obama would just LEAD HARDER!
As part of the climate change agenda he unveiled this year, President Obama made a commitment to significantly reduce the federal government's dependence on fossil fuels. The government, he said in a speech in June at Georgetown University, "must lead by example."Yes, this has been "mired in national politics for years," but it's apparently Obama's fault that it's "mired in national politics" now.
But just two miles from the White House stands the Capitol Power Plant, the largest single source of carbon emissions in the nation's capital and a concrete example of the government's inability to green its own turf.
The plant, which provides heating and cooling to the sprawling Capitol campus ... is operated by Congress, and its transition to cleaner energy sources has been mired in national politics for years. But the failure of Congress to modernize its own facility also raises questions about the Obama administration's ability to limit emissions from existing power plants when it has not been able to do so at a government-run facility so close to home.
So, um, when did this miring start?
The office of the architect of the Capitol, which oversees the operations of the plant, first moved to end the use of coal there in 2000 but was turned back by resistance from powerful coal-state senators who wanted to keep it as the primary fuel.Damn you, Obama -- why didn't you fight this back in 2000 from your powerful perch in the Illinois State Senate?
The effort was revived in 2007 as a central part of the Green the Capitol Initiative, led by Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker at the time. The effort was defunded in 2011 after the Republicans took control of the House.Actually, there were changes made to the fuel mix over the years -- just not good ones:
By then the plant had reduced the amount of coal in its fuel mix to 5 percent, down from 56 percent in 2007. But it made up the difference primarily with diesel fuel oil because, as the architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, told a Congressional panel in 2008, converting the plant to burn natural gas exclusively would have required a modernization costing $6 million to $7 million.Thank God the fiscal hawks in Congress wouldn't allow that kind of money to be spent! Why, $6 million to $7 million would be ... um ... approxiomately two cents for every man, woman, and child in America! STOP TRYING TO ROB US BLIND, LIBRULS!
Oh, but it's not even cost-efficient:
At the time, the plant was spending about $2.7 million a year on fuel oil, about twice as much as it might have cost to produce the same amount of energy using natural gas. The plant remained below its capacity to burn natural gas, according to a 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office, and it continues to burn diesel fuel oil, which, in addition to being much more expensive, is a significant source of emissions.So what's going on here?
Some critics say officials at the power plant are purposely choosing to burn dirtier fuel, as a political statement.Gee, ya think?
"We worked to figure out a way to get around the issue of coal," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi. "But it is a futile effort until you get rid of the Republican majority. They do not believe in the word 'green.'"(The current AOC is a Bush appointee, by the way, though Obama reappointed him in 2010. I'm trying to imagine what the approval process would have been like that year if Obama had chosen his own AOC.)
A review of public records and interviews with city and federal officials suggest that the root of the problem is a lack of enforcement by regulators and insufficient oversight from Congress....
The chairmen and the ranking members of the House and Senate committees that oversee the power plant declined to comment, as did the office of the architect of the Capitol, often referred to as A.O.C.
"That is where the letdown has been," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the district as a nonvoting member of the House. "Oversight wouldn't come from A.O.C., it would come from Congress. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Republicans aren't doing any oversight on this."
All this, according to the article's lede, is Obama's failure. It's a sign of "the government's inability to green its own turf."
No, it isn't -- to state the obvious, it's a sign of the willful refusal of one part of the government to allow the government's turf to be greened.