At this time the Democratic U.S. House, with the Green New Deal, is proposing upgrading 1.2 million federal public housing units to be not only made more habitable but energy efficient using renewables and as a work program. The price tag is $180 billion, about 9% of the 2017 Republican tax break.

In April 1977, President Jimmy Carter unveiled an energy plan to focus on conservation and renewables as well as other measures involving traditional energy sources. Neither political party was entirely receptive. Regardless, Carter did enact some positive energy policies. In June 1979, 32 solar panels were installed on the White House roof.

In 1986, President Reagan jutted the renewables research arm of the Energy Department, remarking that “it had not produced a single quart of oil or lump of coal.” That same year, while resurfacing the White House roof, the fully functional solar array was quietly removed.

Carter’s goal was to have 20% renewables by 2000. In 2010 it was only 7%, the majority being hydroelectric.

In 2010 the Obama administration proposed $2 billion to retrofit government buildings. I worked on energy audits for Yellowstone National Park government buildings in 1980. It’s Groundhog Day again.

Erwin Curry,


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