In an effort prove that she is seriously committed to promoting energy conservation, Sen. Barbara Boxer, head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is installing energy efficient lights in her Capitol Hill office. Boxer said that the light bulbs are part of a “pilot program�, which is overseen and funded by the Architect of the Capitol, and could cut electricity consumption as much as 50 percent at participating offices.

Five other Senators have joined Boxer’s energy saving program as well. The other Senators participating are Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Wayne Allard, Susan Collins, and Thad Cochran. According to Boxer, that is all there is room for in the pilot program, but she hopes to expand it to cover other offices in the future.

As a conservationist I think what Sen. Boxer is doing is a great idea, but as a conservative I can’t help but be a bit critical of the way she’s going about implementing her ideas.

A couple of years ago I replaced all of the incandescent light bulbs in our house with compact florescent types that I picked up at a local Wal-Mart. Up until that point, I had seen the CF bulbs in the stores but I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of paying $7.00 for a light bulb. Then one day I was killing time inside a Wally World Super Center while waiting on a subscription to be filled and happened upon the isle where the light bulbs are shelved. I took the time to actually pick up a package of CF’s and read the information on the back of it, and the rest is history.

The point of all of this is that I bought the bulbs, then took them home and installed them. I funded the project myself, for less than a hundred bucks, and I certainly didn’t need oversight from the Architect of the Capitol, or any other architect for that matter.

One of the real benefits of using CP bulbs, or any other energy saving material, technique, or devise is that they typically pay for themselves over time. I find it hard to believe that this so called “pilot program� could ever pay for it’s self.

Programs take people, and every person involved with the development, implementation and documentation of this program deduct dollars from the savings that the plan was intended to produce in the first place.

Just for an example, if this program only lasts for one year, and if a secretary making $35,000.00 a year spent just one hour a day filing papers and doing a little light typing for this program, his or her services would cost the taxpayers $3,117.40 for the year.

So here is an idea for the Senator from California; save us taxpayers some money and take a trip to any box-store retail outfit, buy some bulbs and screw the damned things in yourselves. There is much satisfaction to be gained from taking on do-it-yourself projects too. Just remember, righty tighty, lefty loosey.