Welch estimates that the electricity used by his offices in Vermont and Washington and his travel and that of his staff produces 56 tons of carbon dioxide a year. The cost to offset that is $672.
Welch is paying for it with his own money. But he said he planned to introduce legislation that would allow members of Congress and federal agencies to bill the government for the offsets.
He is working with a Charlotte company, Native Energy, that specializes in helping companies offset their carbon production by investing in alternative energy projects across the country.
Last summer New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez became the first member of Congress to become carbon neutral when his campaign bought carbon offsets by investing in wind power and the planting of trees.