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Veterans, Mabus lend additional support to biofuels

By Erin Voegele | July 31, 2012

Current and former members of the U.S. military are continuing to advocate for biofuels. The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate recently released a letter signed by 350 veterans urging the President Obama and Congress to support the Pentagon’s initiatives to diversity its energy sources, while Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus took to Facebook to debunk public misconceptions of the Navy’s biofuel program.

Retired generals, admirals, and former Armed Services Committee chairmen Sen. John Warner and Ike Skelton were among those who signed the letter, which stressed how important it is for the American people to support the efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense’s efforts to make our national more energy dependent and secure.

“The DOD is one of the largest institutional energy users in the world, consuming more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day,” said the veterans in the letter. “Volatile global oil markets expose DOD to price spikes. This instability was highlighted in a landmark report by the Defense Science Board entitled ‘ore Fight—Less Fuel,’ which recommended that the Pentagon initiative energy innovations to reduce the risk to soldiers and enhance the military’s long-term energy security.”

The veterans also stress that as long as our economic security is dependent on oil produced in volatile regions of the world, the military will continue to be required to continue dangerous deployments and missions to ensure the security of energy resources.

“The U.S. national security network is doing its part to break the military from the tether of imported oil, reduce mission performance risks, deny income to regimes hostile to America’s interest, and strengthen our economy and ensure that scarce budgetary resources are maximized,” said the letter.

One of the primary arguments against the DOD’s biofuel initiatives has been the high price of biofuels. Mabus addressed those arguments via social networking. “There is a factual error about the Navy’s biofuel program circulating in the public domain that must be corrected,” he wrote on Facebook. “That figure is a fabrication based on speculation, and does not take into account Navy's commitment regarding biofuel purchases for operations. The projection assumes oil prices will not rise and that biofuel costs won't go down. History and experts tell us that oil prices are more likely to rise, and because of advances in technology and economies of scale, the price of biofuel has already dropped.”