Legal petition demands federal government use purchasing power for climate gains

WASHINGTON – The Center for Biological Diversity today called on the General Services Administration to use its unique purchasing power to advance climate goals by purchasing renewable energy and zero-emission vehicles.

The legal petition calls on the GSA, which manages the purchasing, facilities and basic operations of federal agencies, to convert all federal buildings to renewable energy by 2025, to make renewable energy mandatory for all purchases federal public services by 2025 and have a fleet of zero-emission vehicles by 2025. 2035. Tentative benchmarks should allow progress to be made towards these targets, the petition says.

Since the federal government is the largest owner of real estate in the country and the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, the GSA has unique power to steer private markets towards renewable energy. It is the largest energy consumer in the country, purchasing more than 50 million megawatt hours of electricity each year.

“The GSA and government as a whole should be focused on tackling the climate crisis, not spending taxpayer dollars to make it worse,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center. “The agency can be a huge part of the solution in fueling the transition from fossil fuels, but officials need to step up and do it.”

In April 2021, Katy Kale, General Services Administrator declared that she was “proud to affirm GSA’s commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2025”.

Today’s petition would set out rules to achieve that goal, which the agency has taken no formal or public action to achieve.

“Making climate promises without acting is just empty rhetoric,” Snape said. “After nearly a year in office, President Biden has left far too many of his climate promises unfulfilled or broken. The GSA can help put the president’s climate goals back on track by finally putting his purchasing power at the service of our planet.

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