Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

David Lungren (202) 224-5642

Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Full Commitee and Subcommittee on Oversight joint hearing entitled, "GSA: Opportunities to Cut Costs, Improve Energy Performance, and Eliminate Waste."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:00 am

Thank you, Madam Chairman, for holding this hearing. I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss ways in which we can improve efficiency and eliminate waste within GSA.

Given the current state of the economy, people and businesses around the country continue to tighten their belts and look for ways to save money.  The federal government should be doing the same.  I look forward to hearing from Administrator Johnson on GSA’s efforts to improve property purchases and maintain efficient buildings. 

For me, this is an area where we can cut costs and save taxpayer money.  Additionally, it would be helpful to understand the financial impacts of EPA regulations and other federal mandates on the Administration—for example, how is GSA handling implementation of EPA’s lead-based paint rule.

I also continue to be concerned with GSA’s exclusive use of the LEED standard in certifying “green” buildings.  This has created unintended consequences, such as the use of foreign lumber instead of American-grown lumber.  Obviously, this is costly, inefficient, and environmentally unsound. 

I believe that the increased interest in green buildings and advances in technology in recent years have, and are, creating new building rating systems. These systems should be allowed to compete in the market and government agencies should be able to determine which system meets their performance requirements.

We also need to practice careful oversight to ensure that the best rating systems are being used in government decisions.

I am pleased to have Mr. Ward Hubbell, President of the Green Building Initiative, with us today to discuss some of the issues with LEED and explain another certification program used by GBI. 

I am also happy to have Mr. Jeffrey DeBoer, President and CEO of the Real Estate Round Table here today.  He will speak to the state of commercial real estate industry nationwide.  This is particularly important as GSA looks at disposing of excess and underutilized properties.

Thank you again Madam Chairman for this opportunity.  I look forward to hearing from all the witnesses.