Under former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “Green the Capitol” initiative, lawmakers decided to ban polystyrene (styrofoam) cups and containers from the House cafeteria and replace the non-recyclable items with biodegradable utensils. But per their allergy to the “environmentally-friendly,” House Republicans balked at the effort when they assumed the majority this year and resumed using styrofoam products.
In March, 114 House Democrats urged House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) to consider the environmental and health risks associated with styrofoam. Noting the extensive health effects (chromosomal abnormalities or central nervous system dysfunction) that can occur from such products, the lawmakers said, “the desire to save a few pennies should never come at the expense of jeopardizing staff, members and visitors’ health.”
Deaf to the warning, House Republicans swatted down Moran and Rep. Peter Welch’s (D-VT) second attempt to reinstate the ban on styrofoam on Friday. Exasperated by their intransigence, Moran told ThinkProgress that the House now falls behind the health standards of McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants that dumped these products over 20 years ago. Blasting it as a failure to lead, Moran cited the Republicans’ refusal to believe in global warming and their decision to believe instead “that money trumps health”:
MORAN: Some of [the motivation] was because the Speaker [Pelosi] did it, they didn’t want to. And they don’t believe in global warming, and they saved a little money. They believe that money trumps health.