Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-2160
Inhofe Outlines Plan to Stop Obama Imposing Costly Green Agenda on DoD
Will introduce amendments at Senate Armed Services Committee Markup of Defense Authorization bill
Inhofe Outlines Plan to Stop Obama From Imposing Costly Green Agenda on Department of Defense
Washington D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, took to the Senate floor today to put the spotlight on the far-left global warming agenda that is being imposed on the Department of Defense (DoD) by President Obama, which comes at the same time the Obama administration is forcing devastating cuts to the military budget.
Senator Inhofe announced that he will be introducing a number of amendments during next week's markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee that will stop President Obama's expensive green agenda from taking effect in the military.
As part of that effort, Senator Inhofe is also releasing a document put together by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) which reveals that the federal government has spent $68.4 billion on global warming activities since 2008 - and that's just a conservative estimate. Instead of focusing on funding our critical defense needs such as modernizing our military's fleet of ships, aircraft and ground vehicles, the Obama administration's priority is to force agencies to spend billions on its war on affordable energy; this is further depleting an already stretched military budget and putting our troops at risk.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
Obama War on Affordable Energy a Threat to our Military and National Security
Mr. President, today I want to expose the far-left environmental agenda that is being imposed on the Department of Defense by President Obama and his Big Green allies, which comes at the same time that the Obama administration is focused on gutting our military. As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a Senior Member of the Armed Services Committee, stopping the radical global warming agenda as well as President Obama's devastating cuts to our military have been top priorities for me because both of these issues are major threats to our national security.
I've have had growing concerns about how President Obama's global warming agenda is harming our military, but the remarks recently made by Secretary Panetta have led me come to the floor to address the Senate today.
Let me say this about Secretary Panetta: I have known him since 1989. I enjoyed working with him during the five years we served together in the House and I was pleased when he was selected to be the Secretary of Defense. So I was extremely disappointed to see that he is wasting his valuable time perpetrating President Obama's global warming fantasies and his war on affordable energy, which occurred - no less, at a gathering of radical environmentalists. Secretary Panetta said, "In the 21st century, reality is that there are environmental threats that constitute threats to our national security" and vowed that the Pentagon will take a leading role in shifting the way the US uses energy. Every talking point that Secretary Panetta used in that speech, from the rising sea levels, to severe droughts, to the so-called plight of the polar bear, to increased natural disasters, are all claims directly out of Al Gore's now thoroughly debunked science fiction movie.
In reality, it is President Obama's war on affordable energy that is having a dramatic impact on national security - a war that is further depleting an already stretched military budget and putting our troops at risk.
Secretary Panetta made another revealing statement in justifying the President's green energy agenda, as The Hill reported, "As oil prices continue to skyrocket, the department ‘now [faces] a shortfall exceeding $3 billion of higher-than-expected fuel costs this year,' according to Panetta. In order to dig its way out of that financial hole, DOD has no choice but to look to alternative fuel technologies. Pentagon officials plan to invest more than $1 billion into developing those technologies in fiscal 2013, he said."
That's right, energy prices have skyrocketed - precisely because of the policies of this administration. And that's exactly what the President and his green team wanted. Remember, they have openly admitted this. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that that "[s]omehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." And we all know the infamous quote from President Obama that under his cap-and-trade plan, "electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket."
Now because domestic energy prices have skyrocketed under this administration - just as they wanted them to do, Secretary Panetta wants the military to "go green." Instead of spending scarce resources greening the military, the common sense solution is simply to begin developing our own vast supply of energy resources.
Secretary Panetta's comments came just two weeks before the Senate Armed Services Committee is to begin the markup of the Defense Authorization bill. So I will be taking this opportunity to work with my colleagues on the committee to put the spotlight on President Obama forcing his costly green agenda on DoD while he is gutting the defense budget. I look forward to introducing a number of amendments that will put a stop to this nonsense help ensure that Secretary Panetta has the tools he needs.
As part of that effort, I am also releasing a document put together by the Congressional Research Service that puts a price tag on how much the federal government provides for global warming policies; I'll be discussing this a little later in my speech.
Obama Gutting the Military for Green Energy Agenda
With President Obama running for reelection and pretending to be for an "all-of-the-above" approach, Secretary Panetta's comments are surprising - but they are also illuminating. Secretary Panetta's commitment of a billion dollars for alternative fuels makes clear that, despite President Obama's recent change in rhetoric for his reelection campaign, he remains fully determined to implement his all-out attack on traditional American energy development - and the military is one place where he can force it to happen.
To show just how egregious this whole thing is, let me spend a few minutes documenting how badly President Obama wants to gut our military.Over the past four years DoD has been forced to drastically cut its personnel, the number of brigade combat teams, tactical fighters, and airlift aircraft. It is eliminating or postponing programs such as the C-27, Global Hawk Block 30, C-130 avionics modernization, the F-35, the littoral combat ship, the next generation ballistic missile submarine, and the ground combat vehicles.
Even more concerning, these cuts could go even deeper. Because the Supercommittee failed to report legislation last fall that would have reduced the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, the Pentagon's budget could be cut by an additional $495 billion between 2013-2021.
Secretary Panetta has rightly warned that such drastic cuts would be a threat to national security. He said, "Unfortunately, while large cuts are being imposed, the threats to national security would not be reduced. As a result, we would have to formulate a new security strategy that accepted substantial risk of not meeting our defense needs. A sequestration budget is not one that I could recommend." Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reinforced Secretary Panetta's point when he said, "The impact of the sequestration is not only in its magnitude. It's in what it does...we lose control. And as we lose control, we will become out of balance, and we will not have the military this nation needs."
Putting Spotlight on Obama's Green Energy Agenda
These remarks by top DoD officials make Panetta's recent global warming speech at odds with solving our military's budget problems. Even as Secretary Panetta expresses concern about the impact of these cuts on national security, he is openly supporting President Obama forcing DoD to expend large amounts of scarce resources on expensive alternative fuels. This makes no sense and that's why I believe Secretary Panetta's global warming remarks were written by someone in the White House to appease the radical environmental left - and not Secretary Panetta. After seeing how severe these cuts to DoD will be, how can anyone justify this so-called "greening" of the military?
Consider, for example, the Navy's plan to sail its "Green Fleet", a strike group powered by alternative fuels, by 2016. The success of this Green Fleet is predicated upon bio-fuel, much of it algae based, becoming practical and affordable. In 2009, the Department of the Navy paid a $424 per gallon for 20,000 gallons of biodiesel made from algae, which set a world record at the time for the cost of fuel. In December 2011, the U.S. Navy purchased 450,000 gallons of bio-fuel for $12M, about $26/gallon. This purchase is part of a larger deal in which the Navy has pledged taxpayer funds of $170 million as their share of a $510 million effort to construct or retrofit bio-fuel refineries in order to create a commercially viable market. This bio-fuel will be mixed with petroleum based fuel in a 50/50 ratio to yield a blend that will cost roughly $15/gallon...nearly 4 times the market price of JP-5. And as if the Services are not already stressed by serious budget cutbacks, the Secretary of Navy also directed the Navy and Marine Corps to produce or consume one gigawatt of new, renewable energy to power naval installations across the country.
Now, everyone agrees that energy efficiency in the military is a worthy goal. In fact, I have been a strong supporter of some of DoD's alternative energy solutions that are affordable and make sense, including their initiatives on non-algal bio-fuels and natural gas. But forcing our military to take money away from core programs in order to invest in unproven technologies as part of a failed cap-and-trade agenda is not only wrong, it's reckless.
I'm not alone in saying this. My good friend, Senator McCain, agrees with me on this point. Just last month, Senator McCain criticized earmarks for "alternative energy research" in defense appropriations bills, which cost taxpayers $120 million. Senator McCain said, "We're talking about cutting the Army by 100,000 people, the Marines by 80,000 people, and yet we now have our armed services in the business of advanced alternative energy research? The role of the armed forces in the United States is not to engage in energy research. The job of energy research should be in the Energy Department, not taking it out of Defense Department funds."
Largely due to my concern about green spending in the military, I recently asked CRS to figure out how much money - taxpayer dollars - the federal government has spent on climate change related activities since 2008. The report was released last month and it conservatively estimates that since 2008, the entire federal government spent $68.4 billion on global warming activities.
Now in any budget there are choices to be made. What could that $68.4 billion buy if it hadn't been wasted? Just to name a few options, we could add $12.1 billion to maintain DoD procurement at Fiscal Year 2012 levels allowing our military to continue to modernize its fleet of ships, aircraft and ground vehicles; we could avoid the delay of the Ohio-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Replacement Program; we could restore $1.7 billion back into the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle program; we could fully fund the C-27 program, an aircraft that is critical to combat activities in Afghanistan; add back the billions of dollars President Obama has reduced from our missile defense budget and increased THAAD systems procurement; and we could maintain the size of our military without having to cut 100,000 soldiers.
But instead of funding those priorities, the Department of Defense has been forced to spend valuable resources on research related to global warming and renewable energy. In the stimulus package, each branch of the armed services, and the Pentagon itself was given $75 million, for a total of $300 million to research, develop, test, and evaluate projects that advance energy-efficiency initiatives. This is in addition to the $3.7 billion in DoD stimulus money used to invest in energy efficiency projects at military buildings.
In total, since 2008, DoD has spent at least $4 billion on climate change and energy efficiency activities. The same $4 billion could have been used to purchase 30 brand new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters; 28 new F-22 Raptors; or completely pay for the C-130 Aviation Modernization Program (AMP).
The War on Affordable Energy: The War President Obama Wants to Fight
Now let me turn to the argument President Obama and the far left have used to try to justify this mission to "go green." They always say that we need transition away from fossil fuels to reduce our dependence of foreign oil. But this argument has been clearly debunked, as those who promote this concept have failed to acknowledge the remarkable numbers brought out by the Congressional Research Service, beginning back in 2009, which show that the United States has the largest recoverable resources of oil, gas and coal of any nation in the word. And, just within the past month, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - which is part of President Obama's administration - revealed that America has 26 percent of the world's recoverable conventional oil resources, and that doesn't begin to include our enormous oil shale, tight oil and heavy oil resources. We also hold almost 30 percent of the world's technically recoverable conventional natural gas resources.
If these reports aren't enough to convince the President of our wealth of resources, just last week, an official from the Government Accountability Office testified before the House Science committee saying that in the Green River Formation alone - that's the federal land at the point where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming come together - "contains the world's largest deposits of oil shale" - and that's just in one area where President Obama won't let us produce.
If President Obama were truly serious about ending our dependence of foreign oil - rather than promoting his far left agenda - he would be working on a number of initiatives that would allow us to produce our own resources.
Steps Obama should be Taking to Reduce our Dependence on Foreign Oil:
First he would approve the Keystone Pipeline which would create thousands of American jobs and increase access to domestic oil from North Dakota and Montana. Then he would do everything he can to create an environment where Americans can develop our tremendous energy resources by limiting the ever growing federal regulatory burdens on conventional energy production and ending his war on hydraulic fracturing. Then he would work with us to repeal Section 526 of the 2007 Energy Bill, which puts limit on federal agencies' purchase of petroleum products whose life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions exceed those from conventional crude oil.
But none of these things are likely to happen because President Obama is more interested in fighting a different war: a war on affordable energy. His battle strategy is to restrict domestic development of natural gas, oil, and coal severely in order to drive up the price of fossil fuels so that his favored forms of green energy can compete.
Secretary Panetta's admission about the ongoing green energy agenda at DoD comes just after a 2010 video revealed the former EPA Administrator in Region 6 admitting that the Obama EPA's "general philosophy" was to "crucify" and "make examples" of oil and gas companies. The EPA official quickly resigned but there are plenty more Armendarizes in this Administration who are working hard to stop American energy development.
There are real threats out there
As President Obama's war on affordable energy wages on there are real threats out there, and, contrary to Secretary Panetta's remarks, manmade catastrophic global warming isn't one of them.
Before I end, I like to pose some important questions that we as a nation must take seriously: Which would you rather have? Would you rather spend $4 billion on Air Force Base solar panels, or would you rather have 28 new F-22s or 30 F-25s or modernized C-130s? Would you rather have $64.8 billion spent on pointless global warming efforts or would you rather have more funds put towards modernizing our fleet of ships, aircrafts and ground vehicles to improve the safety of our troops and help defend our nation against the legitimate threats that we face?
President Obama can write press releases for his lackeys but Secretary Panetta has an important job to do and doesn't have time to be pandering to President Obama's global warming fantasies or his ongoing war on affordable energy. He has a real war to win. With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.