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People Spotlight: Robert Lane

The Green the Capitol Initiative Welcomes a New Director

December 3, 2008

Robert Lane
Robert Lane

The new director of the Green the Capitol Initiative is anything but green — at least in terms of his background.

With more than 30 years of experience working around the country on issues ranging from land use, water resources and habitat preservation, Robert Lane isn’t exactly new to environmental issues.

“It’s great to be on Capitol Hill again,” he said. “I’m looking forward to making a contribution and helping to usher our environmentally-friendly vision into its next phase.”

Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard said he’s also looking forward to working with Lane to evolve the Green the Capitol Initiative.

“Bob brings a wealth of experience in greening issues from both the private and the public sphere,” Beard said. “He’s a great addition to the Green the Capitol team.”

His extensive career has often focused on reforming and modernizing federal programs as they relate to environmental issues. In the late 1970s, he participated in the reform of Western water policies while serving in the U.S. Department of the Interior during President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

“Multiple purpose water projects were being scrutinized from an environmental, economic and safety standpoint to ensure the overall benefits were worth the cost,” Lane said. “These efforts contributed to substantial reform in the way water projects were planned, designed and authorized.”

More recently, as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, he worked as a public lands resource planning specialist, supervising teams in support of planning for the protection of millions of acres of public lands in Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming.  He also led consulting teams in support of Everglades National Park on Everglades Restoration issues. He led the planning of two National Conservation Areas in Nevada — Black Rock Desert and Sloan Canyon — which were planned to enhance recreation, protect wilderness and wildlife resources and historic natural environments. Lane also served for several years as a staffer in the House and Senate early in his career and as Arizona State Land Commissioner during the 1980’s.  In that role, he was responsible for reforming the management of 10 million acres of state trust lands.

Lane said those experiences, along with many others, will guide him as he works at the helm of the Green the Capitol program.

“What we do is good for the environment and it also has to make sound business sense,” he said.

He’s looking forward to taking on challenges and contributing to a more environmentally-aware House.

“The policies that we have here are visible evidence of our commitment to the environment,” Lane said. “We’re not just talking about it; we’re really doing it.”

Although he’s only a few weeks into his tenure, he has no shortage of ideas for the second phase of Green the Capitol. Among them: looking into employee parking and transportation. “We know we can modify our space, the next step is going to be about modifying behavior to not just reduce our carbon footprint, but to become more carbon healthy,” he said.

He’ll also continue to work with the Architect of the Capitol and Senate Leadership to “achieve a greater green impact.”

Lane is currently working to green the Transition process by promoting recycling and reuse during the moves and providing environmental education to new employees. The office also recently launched a feature called “Picture Your Move.” Available on HouseNet, it features an interactive green office that highlights environmentally-friendly office products and services available in House offices. 

“My vision is that there will be evidence in almost every corner of the House that we’re going green — from environmentally-sound products to the way we operate technology — and we’re getting close,” he said.