One Lawmaker’s Crusade to Green the Federal Fleet

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. Carolyn Kaster/AP

The federal government maintains the largest fleet of vehicles of any organization in the nation.

One congressman sees that as an opportunity.

Over the last few years, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., has introduced the same amendment to virtually every appropriations bill to make it to the House floor. The measure aims to stop agencies from buying cars and other light vehicles that rely on only gasoline.

Instead -- beginning in 2016 -- all new light-duty vehicles would be required to use alternative fuels, such as hybrid, electric, compressed natural gas or bio fuel. The conversion, Engel has said, would help agencies find savings and make the nation more secure.

“Our economy and our national security are threatened by our dependence on foreign oil,” Engel said. “Each federal agency possesses a fleet to which this could be applied.”

The Obama administration has consistently fought to regulate industries that negatively impact the environment, but has met time and again with pushback from congressional Republicans. Engel’s repeated victories, therefore, represent rare bipartisan agreement on environmental policy.

Most recently, Engel successfully attached the amendment to the 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, marking the 11th time it has been approved since Engel began his campaign. Congress has rarely passed regular appropriations in recent years, however, so the legislation has not yet been signed into law.

President Obama issued a presidential memorandum in 2011 with the same goals Engel is pushing. Those benchmarks -- requiring all new light-duty vehicles to be alternatively fueled by Dec. 31, 2015 -- could be overturned by a future administration, however, motivating Engel to continue his crusade. The New York congressman has so far successfully amended four fiscal 2015 spending bills to include his federal fleet language. He’s also pushed legislation that would set alternative fuel standards on all vehicles sold in the United States.

The federal government maintains a fleet of more than 630,000 vehicles, which comes with an annual price tag of more than $4.4 billion. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.