Thursday, December 9, 2010

Republican “Green” Legislation

Sitting on President Obama’s oval office desk for the past 5 days is a piece of legislation described by House and Senate Republicans as “green” legislation to create cutting edge energy conservation technology jobs. Called the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act, and designated HR 5112 in the House and S 3250 in the Senate, the bill is supposed to cut federal government energy costs and train the federal building maintenance work force in the use of high performance technologies for energy conservation in federal buildings.

About 97% of federal office buildings use private contractors to maintain and manage the facilities, and according to House co-sponsors Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Russ Carnahan (R-Mo.), the legislation should cut the $7 billion spent annually on heating, cooling, powering and lighting federal facilities. GSA expects every dollar spent on training under this legislation to return $3.95 annually in energy cost savings. Senator Susan Collins (R-Me.), cosponsor of S 3250, quotes GSA as complaining that contractors responsible for managing federal facilities “lack qualified, well-trained people” to manage more than 500,000 federal buildings, structures, associated infrastructure and other physical assets in the U. S. and around the world.

The legislation was presented to Obama December 3, and awaits his signature. Interesting that the Republican climate change deniers were the ones to sponsor this bill in both houses. The stimulus legislation they have been complaining about for nearly 2 years appropriated $5.5 billion to GSA for upgrading energy efficiency of federal facilities, and ever since, GSA has been complaining that lack of proper expertise among facility operating personnel was a major roadblock in reaching federal government energy reduction goals. Once the bill is signed into law, training for the operators of the numerous federal buildings in the Chicago area should kick into high gear.
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