Democratic leaders yesterday called for the "greening" of buildings on Capitol Hill, saying politicians have the responsibility to preserve the planet.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has led a charge to fight global warming, and other top Democrats wrote a letter to the chief administrative officer of the House asking him to embark on a "Green the Capitol" initiative.
"The Capitol complex should lead the nation in preserving our planet for future generations," the Democrats wrote to Daniel P. Beard yesterday.
The letter was signed by Mrs. Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Juanita Millender-McDonald of California, the chairman of the House Administration Committee.
The Democrats asked Mr. Beard to provide them with a preliminary report by April 30 and a final report by June 30 on ways to conserve energy inside the Capitol and its adjoining congressional offices.
"We are writing to direct you to undertake a critical initiative to address energy conservation, efficiency and cost savings," they wrote. "The House of Representatives should provide leadership to the nation in providing an environmentally responsible and healthy working environment for our employees."
They suggested Mr. Beard coordinate with his Senate counterparts, the Capitol Police and the Architect of the Capitol Office. Among their requests was to ensure the House has the most up-to-date standards for green building efforts.
It is the latest move highlighting Democrats' plans to take action on climate change. Mrs. Pelosi has created a special panel to study global warming and took the rare step of testifying before the Science and Technology Committee on the topic last month.
On the Senate side, there is bipartisan consensus that legislation is necessary to curb carbon emissions, though a method for achieving drastic reduction is far from agreed upon.
Former Vice President Al Gore, whose film on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Oscar, plans to testify on Capitol Hill this month and deliver hundreds of thousands of postcards he has collected from citizens demanding a climate-change bill.