Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Congressman Who Went Off the Grid. By Jason Koebler

The Seventh-day Adventist, Roscoe Bartlett spent 20 years on Capitol Hill. Now he lives in a remote cabin in the woods, prepping for doomsday.

When Roscoe Bartlett was in Congress, he latched onto a particularly apocalyptic issue, one almost no one else ever seemed to talk about: America’s dangerously vulnerable power grid. In speech after late-night speech on the House floor, Bartlett hectored the nearly empty chamber: If the United States doesn’t do something to protect the grid, and soon, a terrorist or an act of nature will put an end to life as we know it.

Bartlett loved to conjure doomsday visions: Think post-Sandy New York City without power—but spread over a much larger area for months at a time. He once recounted a conversation he claimed to have had with unnamed Russian officials about how they could take out the United States: They would “detonate a nuclear weapon high above your country,” he recalled them saying, “and shut down your power grid—and your communications—for six months or so.”

Bartlett never gained much traction with his scary talk of electromagnetic pulses and solar storms. More immediate concerns always seemed to preoccupy his colleagues, or perhaps Bartlett’s obsessions just sounded more like quackery than real science, even coming from a former Navy engineer who had worked on the space race. Whatever the reason, Congress’s failure to act is no longer Bartlett’s problem. The octogenarian Republican from western Maryland—more than once labeled “the oddest congressman”—found himself gerrymandered out of office a year ago and promptly decided to take action on the warnings others wouldn’t heed, retreating to a remote property in the mountains of West Virginia where he lives with no phone service, no connection to outside power and no municipal plumbing. Having failed to safeguard the power grid for the rest of the country, Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid. He has finally done what he pleaded in vain for others to do: “to become,” as he put it in a 2009 documentary, “independent of the system.”

[...] Not that his life out here in the mountains is anyone’s idea of retirement. He rises at dawn every day except Saturday (he’s a Seventh Day Adventist) and spends 10 to 12 hours cutting logs, tending gardens and painting walls. I ask Bartlett, as he climbs a ladder to an attic, if he has ever had any health problems. No, he says, ... Read the full article by Jason Koebler in Politico

Source: Politico
Author: Jason Koebler is a freelance science and technology reporter based in Brooklyn ... more
Photo: Jason Koebler

1 comment:

  1. Former GOP congressman builds survivalist compound in remote West Virginia woods to prepare for doomsday by living off the grid

    • Roscoe Bartlett, 87, left office last year after serving as representative of Maryland's 6th congressional district for 20 years

    • He had spent years sounding the alarm about EMPs - electromagnetic pulses that could knock out America's power grid

    • Bartlett and his wife retired to his 153-acre compound in West Virginia wilderness to live off the grid

    • Ex-congressman's lakeside property features six solar-powered log cabins, gardens and mills

    • He still works part time as consultant for a cyber-security company in DC

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