In a move that could be seen as political, Lungren, a Republican, has dumped a composting program implemented by then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
Under Pelosi, all Styrofoam containers and plastic silverware were banned at House eateries. The utensils and trays were replaced by biodegradable alternatives.
The seismic shift in the balance of power shift in the House of Representatives not only cost Pelosi her perch as queen of the hill, thanks to Lungren it has also cost her perch as queen of the compost pile.
Lungren is now the chairman of the House Administration Committee and in that roll he has the power to undo whatever he wants. What he wants is to trash Pelosi's plan.
He has numbers to back up the call claiming the program is counter productive, because it takes more electricity to haul the waste to a composting facility than it saves in recycling efforts. "After a thorough review of the House's composting operations, I have concluded that it is neither cost-effective nor energy-efficient to continue the program," Lungren said in a written statement.
Pelosi has not personally responded to the roll back, but her spokesman said she was disappointed.
"The commercial food composting industry has not fully developed yet, and we would hope that when a closer commercial composting site opens and more competition brings down costs, the program would be reinstituted," spokesman Drew Hammill said
Beyond the money issue, Lungren recently told the Washington Post that he was hearing bipartisan complaints that the biodegradable utensils kept falling apart while people were trying to eat.