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Inhofe Uncovers Green Fleet Not Just R&D After All
July 27, 2012

Posted by Matt Dempsey

Inhofe Uncovers Green Fleet Not Just R&D After All  - Sec of Defense Calls DOD Report “Fictitious” – Mabus Takes to Facebook to Respond to Questions Over Navy Waste on Greening of Military – Inhofe Uncovers Green Fleet Not Just R&D After All  

 INHOFE UNCOVERS 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). 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. 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. 

Oklahoman: Sec. of Navy Calls Defense Report “Fabrication”: A statement from the Navy issued to The Oklahoman on Wednesday states the $1.8 billion figure “is a fabrication. It was taken from a report that did not use realistic data or take into account Navy's commitment regarding biofuel purchases for operations.” “First, the projections in the report assume oil prices won't be higher in 2020, 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. “More to the point, the Navy has taken the well-known and much-publicized position that it will only purchase operational quantities of biofuel blends when they are competitive with petroleum, period. Future operational purchases of biofuel must be cost competitive with conventional fuels. We simply cannot afford to do it otherwise and will not do it.”  

Greenwire: About those T-Shirts:  Inhofe has been especially miffed by the branding effort around the event. All of the planes and ships participating in last week's exercise bore decals with the Navy's energy logo, and the fighter jets had green stripes painted on their noses. Mabus and other top officials also received green hats to commemorate the occasion, and an aircraft squadron had T-shirts made up that said "Keeping the Earth Green, One Bag of Biofuel at a Time" (Greenwire, July 19). "Given the price tag of this unnecessary demonstration, what the slogan should really be is: 'Wasting Scarce Defense Funds, One Bag of Tax Dollars at a Time,'" Inhofe fumed in a statement last week. "They may as well be throwing money out to sea." Navy spokeswoman Lt. Richlyn Neal said that the T-shirts were made up by an aircraft squadron participating in the event and that the hats were paid for using personal funds from the leadership of the USS Nimitz, the aircraft carrier that hosted the event. "No appropriated funds were spent," she said. She did not have information about the decals or paint jobs.  

Politico: MABUS AGAIN DEFENDS GREEN FLEET: Mabus seemingly replied to Inhofe on Facebook last night, writing in a post that doesn’t mention the senator that “the Great Green Fleet … was a successful demonstration of the seamless integration of advanced biofuel and energy efficient technologies in some of the U.S. Navy's most sophisticated air and sea platforms.” Mabus’s Facebook post:  (Politico Pro Coverage Here ) 

Politico: Mabus also took a shot at news reports that included a figure from a recent Defense Department report projecting the Navy could spend as much as $1.8 billion on its biofuel programs. “There is no truth to the reports that the U.S. Navy will spend $1.8 billion on biofuels. 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.” (Politico Pro Coverage Here ) 

Politico: SO WHERE’D THE $1.8 BILLION FIGURE COME FROM? The $1.8 billion figure (recently noted in this July 17 Wired report: comes from a July 2011 DoD report projecting the Navy will use 336 million gallons of drop-in biofuels in 2020 and estimating that fuel could be as much as $5.24 more per gallon than conventional fuel starting in 2015 — a $1.76 billion equation. The report notes: “Should the cost of crude oil significantly rise, it is likely that this cost difference would close if not eliminate the price premium. However, production of renewable fuels requires energy, and their costs would be anticipated to rise as well. …Nevertheless, investment in renewable fuels could help to provide a hedge against a sudden and steep rise in petroleum prices if these fuels were being obtained under long-term contracts at fixed prices.” The DoD report: (Politico Pro Coverage Here )  



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