Campus Notebook: Lott Returns

Posted September 15, 2009 at 5:57pm

The Senate will unveil former Majority Leader Trent Lott’s (R-Miss.) portrait Wednesday in the Old Senate Chamber.

[IMGCAP(1)]The portrait will be part of the Senate Leadership Portrait Collection, which includes portraits of the Senate’s President Pro Tems, Majority Leaders and Minority Leaders. The artist, Steven Polson, has painted the portraits of several government officials.

Lott’s portrait will be unveiled at 3:30 p.m. Space at the ceremony is limited.

Government Efficiency? About 50 Democrats sent a letter Tuesday to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, calling for federal agencies to take advantage of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act to make buildings more energy-efficient.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) led the effort, writing in the letter that EISA provides agencies with multiple ways to pay for efficiency projects. One option is Energy Savings Performance Contracts, where a private company pays for the upfront costs in return for a long-term contract that pays the company the annual cost savings of the project.

In his letter, Welch quoted President Barack Obama’s assertion that the government would save taxpayers $2 billion if 75 percent of federal buildings were more energy-efficient.

ESPCs, Welch writes, “have proven to be a highly successful tool to encourage energy efficiency in federal buildings, and the ESPC program will be essential to achieving the President’s goal.—

Welch also requests that Chu hand over a report on how he will implement such plans by Oct. 15.

Welch’s letter comes about a month after Congress signed onto its first ESPC. In the next few months, House office buildings will get $34 million in energy-efficiency upgrades through a contract between the Architect of the Capitol and energy-facility company NORESCO. Congress has also spent millions in the past few years for other efficiency projects.

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