Change: “Green the Capitol” withers in GOP House
posted at 12:15 pm on February 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the House attempted to “Green the Capitol” by changing its operations — and perhaps especially the food service — to reflect enviro-friendly behavior. The result? More cost, more waste, and ironically a higher use of power and emissions of greenhouse gases. Republicans put an end to the pretentious program almost immediately, to bipartisan relief:
But the GOP has succeeded in short order in one critically important venture: getting rid of the “compostable” cornstarch-based knives, forks and spoons that were a universally — and bipartisanly — hated feature of the House cafeteria operation.
The tableware, the color of mucus and as bendable as a pocket watch in a Salvador Dali painting (and thus unable to pierce any foodstuff firmer than the innards of Brie cheese), was the most visible manifestation of recently deposed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s Green the Capitol initiative. That was her carbon-cutting effort to use the food-service and other House operations to fight global warming and a host of other perceived environmental, health and social ills. During the lunchtime rush, you could observe dozens of staffers struggling to stab lettuce leaves and poultry pieces with fork tines that appeared to be double-jointed as well as dull. …
It turns out that the composting program not only cost the House an estimated $475,000 a year (according to the House inspector general) but actually increased energy consumption in the form of “additional energy for the pulping process and the increased hauling distance to the composting facility,” according to a news release from Lungren.
As far as carbon emissions were concerned, Lungren concluded that the reduction was the “nominal … equivalent to removing one car from the road each year.” He plans to switch the House to an alternate waste-management system recommended by the Architect of the Capitol, in which dining-service trash would be incinerated and the heat energy captured.
“Composting releases methane,” said Lungren’s spokesman, Brian Kaveney, and methane gas, as even the most warming-conscious among us have to admit, traps atmospheric heat far more efficiently than carbon dioxide, the usual bugaboo of the climate-change crowd.
Along with the program, the “didactic” signage, according to Charlotte Allen in the Los Angeles Times, has also disappeared. Pelosi’s project installed all sorts of lecturing signs, assuring consumers at the cafeteria that the hamburger was “humanely raised,” and that eggs were “cage-free.” The menu also featured “turkey escubeche,” which left eaters wondering exactly what the cafeteria served — and the prices seemed to increase along with the syllables of the menu items.
Eating has returned now to its previous purpose of feeding people rather than lecturing them on tastes and energy policy, and costs have returned to normal as well. But the exercise did have its value. It showed that far from looking to deliver cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy resources, the “green” movement instead exists to lecture people not just on energy consumption but on a wide range of lifestyle choices. It is much more efficient at distributing condescension than actual energy, and hypocrisy over tangible results.