NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 2, 2007

In an effort to serve as a model of efficiency, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently suggested that a first step in reducing greenhouse gases would be to require that federal buildings use more efficient light bulbs and ask federal bureaucrats to turn off their computers at night, says the Wall Street Journal.

Sen. Boxer's proposals finally represent a good idea for environmental efficiency, says the Journal.  The U.S. government is currently one of the most inefficient energy users, which comes at a high cost:

  • According to a 1999 report by the Alliance to Save Energy, the federal government consumes about 32 percent more energy per square foot than the nation's building stock at large, this inefficiency costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year.
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that from 1980 to 1996 the Department of Energy alone wasted away more than $10 billion on programs that were terminated before completion.
  • The Senate Government Reform Committee has identified more than $200 billion of budget savings by eliminating redundant and wasteful federal activities.

Of course, it follows from all this that the best way to make the federal government more energy efficient would be to undertake a government-wide policy of lights out permanently, says the Journal.  Save the environment; kill a federal program.

Source: Editorial, "Uncle Sam's Greenhouse Gases," Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2007.


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