Congress's composting plan tossed

Jan. 24, 2011 at 5:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Congressional Republicans say they are moving to suspend a House composting program started under Nancy Pelosi's "Green the Capitol" effort.

House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren R-Calif., says the program will be suspended because a review showed it was actually increasing the House's overall energy consumption, Politico reported Monday.

Pelosi's effort to make the Capitol complex more environmentally friendly included installing low-flow toilets in House office buildings, introducing organic foods into the House cafeterias, using recyclable utensils and starting composting programs.

But the program, estimated to cost $475,000, made only minimal reductions in carbon emissions, a report by the congressional inspector general said. And the pulping process that breaks down the biodegradable materials for composting required additional electricity, the report found.

"While I am suspending this program because it is costly and increases energy consumption," Lungren said, "I would like to assure the House community that this committee will continue to evaluate all components of House operations and will work with the appropriate agencies to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices when feasible."

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