HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Power Outage

Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:45am

Environmentalist Bill McKibben visited the White House on Friday seeking to return a historical relic — but in the end, nobody ended up taking it.

McKibben traveled from Vermont to Washington for a Friday morning meeting with Obama administration officials, where he sought to persuade them to reinstall a solar panel that once sat on the White House roof. Thousands of people had signed the panel to support solarizing the White House, McKibben says, and he even appeared on “Late Night With David Letterman” to promote the effort.

But the White House declined to accept the solar panel, McKibben says, telling HOH that officials told him they are still deliberating whether to go solar.

“We hope the deliberative process can go fast since the deterioration of the earth is going fast,” he says.

President Jimmy Carter installed 32 panels on the White House roof during his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. A few years later, President Ronald Reagan removed them. The panels were eventually sent to Unity College in Maine, where they were installed atop a cafeteria.

McKibben says he’ll continue his push to bring solar power back to the White House, noting that if the Obama administration is dedicated to tackling environmental issues, “a good place to start would be close to home.”

In the meantime, McKibben and the environmental group 350.org will help host a Global Work Party on Oct. 10, designed to find solutions to environmental problems. And if it turns out the White House ends up wanting the solar panel after all, McKibben is happy to deliver it.

“Our experience taking this solar panel down the coast this week was like traveling with a rock star,” McKibben says. “People loved it.”

Overheard on the Hill

“No tv today. I’m so sick and tired of looking at the nut job in Florida.”

— Sen. Claire McCaskill in a Friday morning tweet. The Missouri Democrat was referring to the Rev. Terry Jones, the minister in Gainesville who announced plans to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11.

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