A Senate panel approved a bill to reduce pollution from the Capitol Power Plant. Built almost a century ago, the power plant generates steam and chilled water that is piped to the Capitol and nearby Senate and House office buildings for heating and air conditioning. The plant burns coal as well as natural gas and some heating oil. Sanders, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the chief sponsor of the most far-reaching bill to reverse global warming, voted for the bill to curb emissions from the Capitol Power Plant. The legislation is part of a package of "green government" bills that were advanced by the committee on Wednesday.
The power plant bill, which now goes before the full Senate, would establish a $3 million, two-year program under the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the plant. Located about four blocks south of the Capitol, the plant burned more than 17,000 tons of coal last year. In the process, according to a congressional report, about 60,000 tons of CO2, a major contributor to global warming, belched out of the smokestack.
The committee also approved a bill that would require the federal government to take steps to encourage the building of "green" government buildings and upgrade existing buildings to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency, indoor air quality and other environmental impacts. Another measure that cleared committee would authorize construction of a "solar wall" consisting of 25,000 photovoltaic cells on the roof of the Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, DC.
Another panel, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, earlier approved legislation by Sanders that would give grants to states and cities for innovative programs to improve the energy efficiency. That legislation is part of an energy bill that the full Senate is scheduled to take up next week. Another Sanders provision would make grants to colleges and universities for innovative energy projects.