Un-greening the Capitol

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I have a new piece up this morning highlighting the House GOP’s all-out assault on the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s just the beginning, though. Congressional Republicans have also declared war on the compostable cups and cutlery that were introduced as part of the Green the Capitol initiative that Democrats rolled out when they were in the majority.

It’s basically the GOP’s environmental agenda in a nutshell: irrational rejection of anything remotely smelling of green. I made my first visit to the House cafeteria yesterday since they brought back the Styrofoam. It’s telling, really:

The office of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) took a look at the GOP’s program and estimated that it will actually cost $50 million over the next 10 years to un-green the Capitol. That’s because reverting back to the Capitol’s environmentally unfriendly ways means ending programs like composting and single-stream recycling, double-sided printing, reducing water use, and managing computer power more efficiently—all of which save money in the long run.

Oh, and not to mention jacking up health care costs if any Hill staffers should get cancer, since the EPA considers styrene “a suspected carcinogen.” What was it the Republicans were saying about runaway spending again?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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