Back in September 2011, The Blaze reported that members of the Obama administration were classifying anything remotely connected to “green” jobs as being, well, “green” jobs.
At the time The Blaze published that story, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ definition of a “green” job was any job that “provides goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”
Of course, it wasn’t long before this extraordinarily broad definition was called into question by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). After some sufficient grilling, BLS administrators assured him that they would come up with a more refined definition.
However, here we are in June 2012 and it doesn't look like they have come any closer to defining what, exactly, a “green” job is.
And it seems like Rep. Issa is beginning to lose his patience.
During the “Addressing Concerns about the Integrity of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Jobs Reporting” hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Issa unloaded on Bureau of Labor Statistics Acting Commissioner Josh Galvin and Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Jane Oates.
“Well, let me -- let me run you through some questions here because you’re here because we’re having a green jobs counting discussion,” Rep. Issa began, “Does someone who assembles turbines -- is that a green job?”
After some squirming, Oates had no choice but to hand off Rep. Issa’s questions to her counterpart, Josh Galvin .
“Look, Mr. Galvin,” Rep. Issa said, “You did not want to come here as a witness. You are not a delighted witness. So let’s go through this.”
“If you sweep the floor in a solar panel facility, is that a green job?” the California representative asked.
“If you drive a hybrid bus — public transportation — is that a green job?”
“According to our definition, yes.”
“What if you’re a college professor teaching classes about environmental studies?”
“What about just any school bus driver?”
“What about the guy who puts gas in the school bus?”
Depending on your political persuasion and how you feel about “green” energy, the following exchange is either terribly awkward or wonderfully entertaining (via C-SPAN):
So, based on the BLS' definition, almost everything counts as a "green" job -- even what may seem like wholly unrelated occupations such as "antiques dealer" and Salvation Army employees.
Here are the top 10 most ridiculous jobs the U.S. government considers "green," as confirmed by government officials:
10. Floor sweeper at a solar panel factory
The official definition allows for any position that will "reduce or eliminate the creation of waste materials" to be considered a green job.
9. College professor teaching environmental studies
Any employee who is able to "provide education and training related to green technologies and practices" has a green job, according to the Department of Labor's definition.
8. Salvation Army Employee
BLS says products and services that "collect, reuse, remanufacture, recycle, or compost waste materials or wastewater" are considered green jobs. As Issa points out, any type of business that sells used goods is a green job, according to BLS.
7. An antique Dealer
Same rule applies here as in number six.
6. A clerk at a bicycle repair shop
Bicycle repair shops also reuse and recycle materials and is determined to be a green job.
5. Any school bus driver
Just as all forms of mass public transportation, school buses reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of cars on the road and therefore reducing "greenhouse gas emissions through methods other than renewable energy generation and energy efficiency."
4. Any employee who puts gas in a school bus
This one is humorous but confirmed by Department of Labor officials to be a green job.
3. A full-time teenage employee at a used record shop
The recycled goods clause applies here, therefore it is dubbed a green job.
2. Train car manufacturers
Once again, employees whose job functions "reduce or eliminate the creation of waste materials; collect, reuse, remanufacture, recycle, or compost waste materials or wastewater" have themselves a green job.
1. And the number one most ridiculous job that the Labor Department considers "green" is... Oil lobbyist.
Galvin confirmed that an oil lobbyist is in fact a green job. It's not entirely clear where in BLS's definition the position falls under, however, the job could possibly be considered to "increase public awareness of environmental issues."
Honestly, at this point, the only question left is what doesn’t count as a “green” job?
Blaze Reporter Jason Howerton contributed to this report.