Defense Department Criticized for Wasting Energy

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By Sharyn Wizda Cox News Service WASHINGTON - The Defense Department is not conserving energy as Congress ordered, lawmakers and business executives charged Wednesday.

The department's record as a whole ``looks pretty shabby and shows an appalling lack of forethought,'' said Mike Synar, D-Okla., chairman of the House Government Operations Committee's energy ubcommittee.

Although Congress has called on federal agencies to reduce energy use, consumption per square foot in Defense Department facilities increased 1.4 percent from 1985 to 1989, Synar said at a subcommittee hearing.

With the Defense Department facing major budget cuts, department official Jeffrey A. Jones told the subcommittee that the Pentagon has other priorities.

``Everyone out there wants to spend the peace dividend, and we have to make some cutbacks,'' said Jones, the department's director of energy policy. ``I would have to say that budget priorities mean we are not focusing solely on this.''

The department has already implemented the ``quick and easy'' conservation methods - such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs - and is taking additional time to explore more advanced and expensive methods, he said. …


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