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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.”

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Cliff Claven

    2012-08-01

    1

    Navy biofuels is all about winning political points rather than about national security. We get only 16% of our imported oil, only 3% of our total energy, from the Persian Gulf and could make that fuel domestically or get it from Mexico or Canada if we wanted to. Oil is a global commodity and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, "U.S. independence from the worldwide market for oil would require a degree of isolation that is almost certainly not feasible or desirable in such a global economy." (Energy Security in the United States. Congressional Budget Office, May 2012. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/05-09-EnergySecurity.pdf.) Our warships patrol the straits and strategic maritime routes of the world as much to secure oil for our allies like Japan, as to secure the trade that keeps our Walmart store shelves stocked. Look up the Truman Project to see who is providing the greenwash propaganda script to the retired generals and admirals mustered by the administration for this PR effort. Those with a decent STEM education and true appreciation for the facts from reading the RAND and National Academy of Sciences reports that the Navy is ignoring are starting to understand what a fool's errand biofuels are (Bartis, James T., and Lawrence Van Bibber. Alternative Fuels for Military Applications. RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2011. http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG969.html ). Senator McCain has addressed the Navy's willful negligence with taxpayer money far better than I ever could in this letter to Secretary Mabus (http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=ca4414f1-e686-7cb6-820e-995f3289f68a).

  2. Buffalo Theorist

    2012-08-03

    2

    "We get only 16% of our imported oil... from the Persian Gulf": Our net imports from the Persian Gulf are 1.843 MMbd. At $80-$100 per barrel, that means that we send $150-$185M PER DAY to the Persian Gulf. (US Energy Information Admin FAQs: http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=727&t=6) "Oil is a global commodity": Hence, disruptions in any source of that supply affect global prices. That's basic economics. "Our warships patrol the straits and strategic maritime routes of the world as much to secure oil for our allies like Japan, as to secure the trade that keeps our Walmart store shelves stocked.": Are you seriously suggesting that we risk American lives and materiel to protect our allies' oil interests? Furthermore, how many finished goods that are stocked on Walmart shelves come directly from the Strait of Hormuz? "Look up the Truman Project to see who is providing the greenwash propaganda script to the retired generals and admirals mustered by the administration for this PR effort": At least those retired generals and admirals are not hiding behind a TV character to state their positions, and they almost certainly have the credibility to speak out on the strategic interests of the US armed services; whose propaganda script are you reciting?

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