I’ve seen those old smokestacks near the Capitol on my walks around the Hill before, but I had no idea what they were; this WaPo article resolves my puzzlement: “Reliance on Coal Sullies ‘Green the Capitol’ Effort.” It’s the Capitol Power Plant, which, despite the “power” in its name, does not actually supply electricity, but rather provides heated and chilled water to the Capitol Complex via [guess what] a series of tubes.
Apparently the Plant burns coal to do its dirty work, releasing clouds of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon “We Call it Life” dioxide into the District’s air for our better health. Not just that, but the underground network of pipes which carry their fluids to the Capitol’s climate-control capillaries are lined with asbestos. This also explains that serious walled-off digging area AOC has going in the parking lot between E Street and Mass Ave NE near Union Station, the one with the big sign warning of a respiratory health hazard from asbestos.
Senators Byrd (D-WV) and McConnell (R-KY) appear to have a bipartisan effort going to keep the plant burning coal so it can pump more dirt into our air. Perhaps their constituents currently residing in DC might care to send them a note?
(Gracias to Grundlepuck for the squirrel/smokestack photo. Also note that the Capitol Power Plant entry on Wikipedia could use some extra meat on its stubby bones.)
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs