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Blumenauer to help make U.S. Capitol more bike-friendly

Posted by on May 31st, 2007 at 11:36 am

National Bike Summit
The grounds of the
U.S. Capitol.
(File photo)

Former Portland City Commissioner and now U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been tapped by Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to make the grounds around the U.S. Capitol more bike-friendly.

Pelosi has put her Chief Adminstrative Officer Dan Beard in charge of making this happen. One of the first steps he took was to contact Blumenauer’s office for advice.

Here’s the word from Blumenauer’s legislative assistant Katie Drennan:

“Ms. Pelosi is looking at purchasing 100% renewable energy, making the capitol carbon-neutral, and amongst other things, finding ways to encourage more employees and visitors to bike there. Dan Beard contacted our office and James (Koski, Earl’s Chief of Staff) and I, along with representatives from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Andy Clarke from the League of American Bicyclists, and Bikes Belong sat down in a long meeting to discuss the multitude of ways to encourage more biking. We covered everything from improving access by removing barriers, to bike sharing programs, to improvement of facilities, and even various incentive based programs that exist around the country to encourage biking. Since that meeting, our advocates have followed up with an extensive memo drawing out some of the ideas we talked about in the meeting. I think Mr. Beard is very serious about making some improvements to the Capitol Campus and encouraging biking all around.”

According to Blumenauer Chief of Staff James Koski, the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer will issue a report later in June that will highlight what they plan on doing to reach these “Green Goals”.

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  • Elliot May 31, 2007 at 11:56 am

    If Pelosi is serious about “making the capitol carbon-neutral,” she’s going to have to start convincing congresspeople to bike to legislative sessions from their home state instead of flying. I’m sure driving around DC is a drop in the bucket compared to all that CO2 that gets dumped straight into the atmosphere from plane flights in and out of the capitol.

    Not that I don’t think more biking would do congress a world of good. I just get touchy when people toss around terms like “sustainability” and “carbon-neutral” without covering all their bases first.

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  • Matt Picio May 31, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    I think they could do a great job making the capitol “carbon neutral” if they’d just prohibit all commercial logging on federal land. All of it – 100%.

    Let’s let nature sequester some carbon – she’s good at that.

    As for keeping Congress out of the air – eh. Congress is 500-600 people. US air traffic is 40,000-70,000 flights PER DAY. Reducing the air travel of the general public even 1% would more than cover what Congress needs to do.

    I’m all for Congressional accountability, but these people need to be able to do their jobs.

    Flying to Hawaii to go golfing, however…. uh, no.

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  • Matt Picio May 31, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Good on ’em for getting Congressman Blumenaur on it, rather than John Dingell (Michigan – think cars) or some representative from Texas.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with Texas, per se – it’s a great country. ;-)

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  • Simon "Gladiator" Apostol June 2, 2007 at 10:07 am

    “I think they could do a great job making the capitol “carbon neutral” if they’d just prohibit all commercial logging on federal land. All of it – 100%.”

    It’s worth pointing out that sometimes logging is the best option where previous policies have led to unnatural situations on public lands. For example, there are areas that have actually been “taken over” by douglas fir trees, crowding out the oaks/ madrones/ prairie that was traditionally present. The harm was done with the disruption of natural fire regimes, but logging must first be done (selectively and carefully, of course) before those regimes can be re-instituted.

    Anyways, that’s off-topic. But I too am a bit skeptical of all this “carbon neutral stuff.” The buying of “credits” can’t possibly be a viable solution to Climate Change, as it does not actually reduce emissions–it merely seeks to offset them.

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