Friday, May 1, 2009


In an effort to make itself an example for the rest of the nation to follow, Capitol Hill will no longer be powered by coal. You heard right, the Capitol Power Plant is currently transitioning to cleaner burning natural gas for its boilers' fuel source. Coal will be used in emergency situations - like cold winter days - until late 2010 when the plant will be able to meet any predictable demand with natural gas.

The Capitol Power Plant isn't exactly large, but the importance of this act lies in its symbolism. If Congress is to lead us to a new energy future, maybe their electricity shouldn't come from old world sources. Natural gas isn't exactly an alternative energy source (actually, it's not one at all), but at least it's a step in the right direction.

More important is exactly how this change came about.

Remember the Power Shift conference in March? Well, a big part of that event was a youth lobby day on the Hill demanding clean energy legislation. During the hoopla, a coalition of environmental groups put together a protest of the Capitol Power Plant's use of coal, which not only creates tons of emissions, but also is detrimental to the air quality in SE DC, and don't even get me started about mountain coal mining...

But anyway, that coalition effectively reached out to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who in turn requested that the acting Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, transition the plant away from coal. And, as of today, the Ayers announced the current transition. Bravo for youth lobbying and the slow creep of common sense onto Capitol Hill!!


  1. this story is wonderful, and ecoaction has a blog now? cant wait to be back