OBAMA, SEC. MABUS’ GREEN FLEET NOT JUST R&D AFTER ALL

Much has been made about the Navy’s recent Green Fleet exercise in the Pacific.  During the event and since, officials have repeatedly made the case that the expenditure of Defense funds for this exercise was limited to Research and Development (R&D). [1] Yet, in order to conduct this major public relations event, R&D funds were not used.  Instead, under Sec. Mabus leadership, the Navy used Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funds for last week’s Great Green Fleet demonstration that cost $12 million just to purchase the R&D biofuel for the ships. [2] Tapping into O&M funds for last week’s demonstration means less funding for training, supplies, equipment, repairs, and over all readiness putting at risk the lives of our sailors. This is why I have requested more information on why the Great Green Fleet demonstration was necessary in the first place. I have also asked for the full cost of the event, including the price to transport the fuel for the fleet, sell memorabilia t-shirts, temporarily paint parts of Navy ships and aircraft green, and conduct this publicity stunt sure to make President Obama’s environmentalist base smile. Other similar R&D programs have tested a limited number of engines and equipment to prove their concept. This event seems to be more about putting dollars in the hands of the biofuel industry.

Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Defense (DOD) said they are pursuing renewable fuels for reasons of “national security, energy security, and GHG [Green House Gas] reduction.” [3] Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus made a similar statement during the great Green Fleet demonstration last week, saying the Navy’s development of biofuels was a “big stride towards energy security…energy independence.” [4]

I support the development and use of all sources of alternative fuels.  For the sake of our energy security and independence, we must take an all-of-the-above approach in order to end our dependence on foreign oil. At the same time, I believe these pursuits within the military must be sensible and affordable solutions. Given the President’s ongoing war on affordable energy, a sensible and affordable approach is not taking place under the current leadership of our Commander in Chief. Instead it looks like another attempt to put taxpayer money into a bankrupt green energy initiative. [5]

President Obama is using DOD to push through his liberal green agenda, what the DOD lists as its “GHG reduction” objective. The proof is in the pudding. The fact is, North America already has enough energy resources above and below ground to fully support our military and end its dependency on foreign oil. [6] If the President would allow these resources to be accessed and developed, this country could be energy independent, accomplishing the first two objectives of national security and energy security. Instead, the President continues to tax, regulate, and suppress an all-of-the-above domestic energy plan, while spending an unprecedented amount of taxpayer dollars on unproven and costly biofuels through the U.S. Navy.

Finally, Sec. Mabus has argued biofuel will cost less as market demand grows. No one can forecast the future price of conventional fuels, much less the future cost of biofuels that are mixed with conventional fuel to create the alternative fuel. Even DOD in a 2011 Congressional study shows that the future cost is unpredictable. In their report, DOD warned if the military’s future biofuel demand on the market outweighs 40 percent of market supply, then the cost of biofuels would rise. [7] To my knowledge, neither the Navy nor the DOD has conducted any studies that evaluate the cost-effectiveness of developing a domestic advanced biofuels industry.

It is disheartening to me to see our military used for Obama’s political pursuits and green agenda. Our men and women took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of this great nation.  We owe every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen and Marine the best equipment and training in the world.  We must ensure our military is sized and equipped with all the resources they require to be decisive in any and every engagement from special operations to large force-on-force combat operations. Diverting limited DOD funds away from other programs in order to advance the green agenda is unacceptable.

 

1.     Snider, Annie. “Navy’s ‘Green Fleet’ sails in ‘historic’ Pacific test.” Environment & Energy Daily. July 19, 2012.

2.   Account 1804 indicates Navy O&M  http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=ef3ae9b5-2fe1-497a-9803-cf9a534084ca 

3.      “Opportunities for DOD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels: FY10 NDAA Section 334 Congressional Study.” Department of Defense. July 2011. Page 8-19.

4.     Casteel, Chris. “Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe wants U.S. Navy to detail costs of Green Fleet exercise.” The Oklahoman. July 16, 2012.

5.     Obama’s Green Energy Bets Keep Coming Up Short.” Republican Policy Committee. July 23, 2012.

6.     Whitney, Gene; Behrens, Carl; & Glover, Carol. “U.S. Fossil Fuel Resources: Terminology, Reporting, and Summary.” Congressional Research Service. Nov. 30, 2010. Page 16-18.

7.     Opportunities for DOD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels: FY10 NDAA Section 334 Congressional Study.” Department of Defense. July 2011. Page 8-13.