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Was "Green the Capitol" a waste of money?

Cherry blossoms bloom on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Well when Republicans take over the House of Representatives next month, one victim could be the democrat's "Green the Capitol" initiative. It was intended to reduce the House's carbon footprint. But critics say it's a waste of money.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Some of the Green the Capitol initiatives included compact fluorescent lighting and recycling. But then there were the forks. A special House green team ordered biodegradable cutlery for all the food outlets on their side of the Capitol. The forks broke and the knives wouldn't cut. There was bipartisan outrage. Energy lobbyist Jeff Holmstead says the Green Initiative was mostly PR.

Jeff Holmstead: In terms of making a difference in the real world, it was not substantive.

Critics really went wild when the House invested about $90,000 in projects to green the Midwest. But environmental lobbyists say overall the Green the Capitol program did save money. Scott Slesinger is with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Scott Slesinger: Economically it was a big plus for the Congress and therefore the taxpayers.

Slesinger says, all told, the two-year program saved at least $2 million.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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