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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bill McKibben: Obama Fails to Meet White House Solar Deadline

Obama Fails to Meet White House Solar Deadline
video of Bill McKibben on the David Letterman Show
Washington, DC — With less than 24 hours to go, it looks as if the Obama Administration will miss its self imposed deadline to install a new set of solar panels on the White House roof.

Last October 5, Sec. Steven Chu said in a statement, “I’m pleased to announce that, by the end of this spring, there will be solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.” June 21st is the final day of spring and the White House roof is still bare. founder Bill McKibben, who led a campaign last fall to convince President Obama to install solar on the White House, reacted to the administration’s failure to meet it’s deadline:
“Well, we don’t have solar panels on the White House, but we do have a better sense of how hard you have to push to get even small change made,” said McKibben. “This was a no-brainer–the Republicans couldn’t filibuster it, the oil companies weren’t fighting it, and it still didn’t get done when they said it would.”
Over the last week, and CREDO Action have collected over 100,000 signatures on a letter asking President Obama to meet his deadline and over 700 supporters have called the White House directly. So far, the administration has declined repeated requests for a comment on when the installation will take place.
The installation will not be the first time panels graced the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On June 21st, 1979, exactly 32 years ago today, President Jimmy Carter dedicated a dedicate a $28,000 solar-heating system to provide hot water, saying “A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people.”
In 1986, President Reagan removed the panels and a number of them ended up at Unity College, a small environmental college in Maine. Last fall, McKibben and a group of Unity students drove a Carter-era panel back to the White House with a request for new panels to be installed on the roof. The group was initially rejected, but a month later, the administration announced panels would be up by this spring.
Today, McKibben vowed to keep up the pressure on the Administration to lead by example, “Barack Obama told his supporters after the election that he needed constant pressure–from now on we’ll do our best to provide it, and on issues even more significant than this.”
A new Yale survey shows that shows that support for clean energy is almost unanimous with 91 percent of Americans saying that “developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (32%), high (35%), or medium (24%) priority for the president and Congress.”

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