'Strengthening environmental stewardship' said to be goal of new Bush executive order

March 01, 2007 |

Executive Order 13423, signed by President Bush in late January, consolidates a number of “EOs” on the environment put into effect by Mr. Bush's predecessor in the White House.

“All the goals in this executive order are either carry-forwards from existing EOs or improvements to them,” said Edwin Piñero, the Administration's Federal Environmental Executive. EO 13423, entitled “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” replaces five others: 13101, 13123, 13134, 13148, and 13149.

The orders were consolidated to make them conform to changing law and new developments, notably the Environmental Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). “The old EPAct (1995) required 20% energy-efficiency improvements by 2015, and this new one requires 30%,” said Pinero.

Other new developments include a new agriculture law that encouraged development of biobased products, and two memorandums of understanding, including an “MOU” on green building in the federal government. “An MOU is a voluntary agreement among federal agencies, but an EO is an executive branch mandate,” said Pinero.

In addition to the 30% energy reduction by 2015, EO 13423 requires federal agencies to achieve numerous energy and environmental performance goals, including the following:

Cut greenhouse gas emissions through reduction of energy intensity by 3% a year or 30% by 2015.Trim water consumption intensity 2% a year through 2015.Construct or renovate government buildings in accordance with sustainability strategies (i.e., green building).Expand purchases of environmentally preferable products, including biobased products.Make at least 50% of current renewable energy purchases from new renewable sources (in service after 1 January 1999).

“A lot of our purchasing programs were not well aligned, and this EO requires an integrated purchasing program, so that agencies aren't faced with conflicting requirements—'biobased,' 'energy-efficient,' 'recycled content,' and so on,” said Pinero.

“From a sustainability point of view, the EO puts under one policy umbrella all these sustainability elements,” he said. The next step will be for the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget to issue “instructions” to federal agencies on how to implement the EO.

Executive Order 13423 can be downloaded from:www.BDCnetwork.com/article/CA6423288.html

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