Feds directed to change commuting, travel habits

Wednesday - 7/21/2010, 10:08am EDT

Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

President Obama has announced that the federal government will reduce greenhouse gas pollution from indirect sources by 13% by 2020, and the way to green is through the federal workforce.

Federal Environmental Executive, Michelle Moore, told the Federal Drive, "it's from sources like employee commutes and employee travel."

Using agency reported targets, Moore said the 13% reduction will "give us an opportunity to expand programs like using teleconferencing, videoconferencing, webconferencing instead of getting on that plane and also expanding commuting options for employees, not just here in D.C. where we all take Metro a lot, but outside of Washington where more than 80% of the federal workforce actually lives and works."

Moore points to federal cities like Denver and San Francisco to use as examples for "giving employees alternates to getting into that single passenger cars and spending an awful lot of time on the road."

Washington, Moore notes, has some of the highest bike to work rates in the nation.

Under the Executive Order, every agency has a Senior Sustainability Officer, said Moore, who will be responsible for setting the targets, meeting targets and "delivering the sustainability plans that are each agency's roadmap for how to get there."

Ahead for Moore is to publish the "very first ever complete inventory of greenhouse gas pollution for the federal government" in January 2011.

Ultimately, our real partnership is with the federal community. The men and women who work in the federal government, who serve in the military, it's their ideas that are really inspiring a lot of the actions that we're taking. And it's their input also that's helping these agencies to set leadership oriented greenhouse gas targets. So where there are challenges, where there are new programs, more innovative programs that we need to think about that can help us have a greener government then we're going to be looking to the community for that inspiration.

And if all this isn't inspirational enough to motivate federal employees to start biking, walking, taking mass transit or telework, Moore notes agencies will be graded on the success of their individual programs on an OMB scorecard. "You might be surprised at how hard people work to stay off the bottom," she said.