Photo: Paulo Ordovezo

In a courageous move to reduce the Congressional operating budget by as much as 0.07 percent, Republican Rep. Dan Lungren of California has halted the House’s composting program. This is of course totally legitimate budget-busting and not any kind of purely symbolic dick-waving — according to Lungren, the program was costing taxpayers $475,000 a year! That’s like half what he pays his staff!

Trashing Pelosi: Granted, Republicans have reason to worry about a plan to remove rotting garbage from Washington. But a little thing about how this was part of Pelosi’s “Green the Capitol” plan might also figure in:

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Amid all the changes Pelosi helped institute when Democrats took over the chamber in 2007 — including installing compact fluorescent lightbulbs and weaning the Capitol power plant off coal — the one that might have sparked the most debate among House denizens, particularly during lunch hour, was the introduction of compostable utensils and takeout trays in House eateries. The program was designed to reduce waste, eliminating Styrofoam containers and plastic silverware that would clog landfills for eternity. (WaPo‘s politics blog)

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It’s for your own good: Lungren would have you know that he’s actually killing composting FOR THE ENVIRONMENT:

The program has also increased the House’s energy consumption through the use of additional electricity for the pulping process and the increased hauling distance to the composting facility. … According to the IG, the program has only achieved carbon reductions equivalent to removing one car from the road each year.

Or maybe not: Of course, the study he’s citing assumed that the waste was being driven to processing in its own personal limo, like a member of Congress would be:

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The inspector general’s study did not take into account that the House was just one of several stops that the hauling company made on its way back to the Maryland site, said a Democratic aide familiar with the report. If it had, the analysis of the chamber’s energy reduction under the program would have been different. (The Hill)