What others say: U.S. needs more than solar panels

President Barack Obama is announcing a bundle of plans for boosting solar power and promoting energy efficiency.

That may be about all he can do on his own authority without support from Congress, but it’s still half a loaf.

One of the steps he was touting was completion of solar panel installation on the White House roof. Well, whoopee.

Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the executive residence, but Ronald Reagan had them removed. That made the panels a political football rather than a modest efficiency tool.

The panels will be more effective as a symbol of presidential policy than as a real contribution to the nation’s energy efficiency.

America needs a broader, more inclusive energy policy, but it’s never going to get one as long as political leaders hold to hard-line policy.

“The president can’t claim an ‘all of the above’ strategy while he’s blocking the Keystone pipeline, slow-rolling the approval of new energy exploration and proposing job-killing regulations that will destroy the American coal industry,” said a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, the ultra-Republican from Ohio.

Filter out the partisan rhetoric, and the man has a point. Solar panels do not a policy make. Power-saving green steps alone can’t meet our energy needs.

The energy efficiency guys and the we-need-more-power bunch need to bury the hatchet. The issue is too important to the national well-being to be a focus for political games.

— The Post-Intelligencer, Paris, Tennessee

May 9

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