With gas prices climbing above four dollars per gallon, Earth Day 2011 arrives today at a moment when families across the country are thinking about their energy use. As President Obama said, “In an economy that relies so heavily on oil, rising prices at the pump affect everybody.”
That's why President Obama recently announced a comprehensive plan to cut our oil imports by a third by 2025. And that's why the Department of Transportation is working so hard to change both the types and the amounts of energy our transportation systems use while also creating good, high-paying jobs and easing everyone’s burden at the pump.
DOT’s efforts to make the US transportation system and our own operations greener extend to every part of the Department.
We're helping develop alternative fuel efforts--biodiesel, electric, hydrogen, and more--not just for cars, but also for trucks, airplanes, transit, and ships.
We've put into place historic fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks that will help cut emissions and help save everyone money at the gas station.
Our livable communities initiative is adding transportation options, so Americans who choose to drive less can find more affordable, environmentally friendly ways of getting where they need to go--whether by walking, biking, riding the bus, taking light rail, or hopping on an American-made streetcar.
Every day, our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are striving to keep the hazardous materials our economy requires from leaking or spilling beyond their safe containers and pipelines. And our Maritime Administration is cleaning and recycling toxic ships that have been abandoned for years.
We're also working hard inside the Department to make DOT a greener agency. From our LEED-certified headquarters building to the 100 percent wind power we purchase, we've made a good start. Even the cleaning contract at headquarters focuses on using the safest, greenest products available. And when the cafeteria replaces its kitchen floor next month, they'll install Protect-All flooring made of 100 percent recycled vinyl.
Our in-house Green Team recently introduced new printing and recycling policies for employees to cut our paper use and other waste. The Green Team also hosted the 2011 Sustainability Achievement Awards recognizing employees and offices DOT-wide in categories such as green purchasing excellence, innovative waste management, and sustainable leadership.
At DOT we know that solving our energy and environment challenges requires more than just a once a year nod to Earth Day. The professionals who make up the DOT family are really dedicated to these goals, year round, and you bet I'm proud of their efforts to develop greener transportation options for America and to transform DOT into a greener workplace. I'm also proud to work for a President who is deeply committed to greening our economy and our government.
Most of all, I'm proud to live in a nation that recognizes the importance of good stewardship. Happy Earth Day 2011, everyone.