EPA, Other Agencies Detail their Own Environmental Progress

by | Nov 1, 2011

The EPA reduced its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 79.5 percent between FY 2008 and FY 2010, according to the agency’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, released yesterday.

But before green power purchases are taken into account, the agency’s scope 1 and 2 emissions increased 0.9 percent in FY 2010 compared to the FY 2008 baseline.

The EPA was just one of dozens of agencies that yesterday released their Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans, showing what they are doing to achieve the environmental, economic and energy goals set by President Obama’s Executive Order 13514, signed in October 2009. The order set targets including cutting facility energy intensity by 30 percent by 2015, from a 2003 baseline; ensuring that at least five percent of agency electricity comes from renewable sources, with at least half that from post-1999 sources; and reducing potable water intensity by at least 26 percent by 2020, compared to a 2007 baseline.

The agencies’ plans highlight milestones, new strategies for improving performance, and specific examples of projects to cut energy, waste, pollution and expenditure. According to the Washington Post, the EPA’s report said it is collecting rainwater in cisterns and using it for flushing, cooling and irrigation.

The Interior Department has focused on energy efficiency and renewable electricity. Officials also plan to swap coal for natural gas.

The Department of Homeland security is replacing vehicles with high-efficiency and alternative fuel models, and plans to merge employee shuttle bus routes with other agencies’.

And at the Department of Defense, the Air Force reported that last year it bought 2,112 alternative fuel vehicles, making up 27 percent of its fleet. The Army said that it plans to explore the use of methane recovery systems at 14 of the landfills at its facilities.

The White House said that the federal government, as the largest consumer of energy in the U.S., must lead by example towards a clean energy economy. Federal agencies employ more than 1.8 million civilians, working in 500,000 buildings and wielding $500 billion in annual purchasing power.

In 2010, President Obama pledged that the federal government would reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2020. He said the government would also reduce its indirect greenhouse gas emissions, such as those from business travel and commuting, by 13 percent by 2020. By meeting these two goals, the White House says, the government could save up to $11 billion in energy costs over the next decade and eliminate the equivalent of 235 million barrels of oil.

These goals will be met by holding agencies accountable, through their annual sustainability plans, monitoring of GHG inventories, and through scorecards submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, the White House said. Twenty-four agencies and departments released the first revised version of these scorecards in April.

Also in April, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released what it called the first-ever comprehensive GHG emissions inventory for the federal government. The government’s GHG emissions were 66.4 million metric tons of CO2 e in 2010, a reduction of 2.5 million metric tons since its 2008 baseline. Federal agency and department FY 2010 GHG emissions summaries can be found here.

Environmental Leader will be reporting on findings from the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans over the coming weeks. In the meantime, click on the links below to view each agency’s 2010 plan:

Advisory Council on Historic PreservationGeneral Services Administration
Commodity Futures Trading CommissionMarine Mammal Commission
Court Services and Offender Supervision AgencyMillenium Challenge Corporation
Department of AgricultureNational Aeronautics and Space Administration
Department of CommerceNational Archives and Records Administration
Department of DefenseNational Capital Planning Commission
Department of EducationNational Endowment for the Humanities
Department of EnergyNational Labor Relations Board
Department of Health and Human ServicesNational Mediation Board
Department of Homeland SecurityNuclear Regulatory Commission
Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentOffice of Personnel Management
Department of JusticeOverseas Private Investment Corporation
Department of LaborPeace Corps
Department of StatePension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Department of the InteriorRailroad Retirement Board
Department of the TreasurySmall Business Administration
Department of TransportationSocial Security Administration
Department of Veterans AffairsTennessee Valley Authority
Environmental Protection AgencyUS Army Corps of Engineers
Farm Credit AdministrationUnited States Postal Service
Federal Housing Finance Agency

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