Welch announces Capitol emmissions cut plan

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(Host) Congressman Peter Welch has been a leader on green initiatives in the U.S. House.

Today he and Democratic leaders announced a plan to cut greenhouse emissions at the Capitol building. From the Capitol News Connection, Matt Laslo reports:

(Laslo) The Capitol complex is estimated to release as much CO2 two annually as 17,000 cars. The goal is for the U.S. House to reduce its carbon footprint by fifty percent in the next ten years.

Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin summed up their efforts.

(Durbin) “We want to make this nineteenth century building a twenty first century example when it comes to greening the capitol and energy efficiency.”

(Laslo) Congressman Welch is only a freshman but has focused on the issue.

(Welch) “I began working on this my first week in Congress. We made our office carbon neutral, the first office in Congress to be carbon neutral.”

(Laslo) The plan is to purchase electricity from renewable sources, like wind and solar. They will change light bulbs and put in an ethanol gas pump near the Capitol. Welch says what members do at the Capitol will make a difference.

(Welch) “The technology we have to use is local, and the jobs that we create are local. So if this country takes on the challenge of reducing its carbon footprint – that’s going to create jobs in local communities. It’s going to create stronger environments locally. So it is the type of thing that with an energetic policy at the national level can be implemented with real benefit at the local level.”

(Laslo) Critics note that four blocks from the Capitol is a coal burning plant used to heat and cool the building. Some members have tried to shut it down, but Senators from coal producing states have blocked every attempt.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Matt Laslo on Capitol Hill.

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