WASHINGTON, DC - Developing our domestic energy resources is key to national security, according to testimony today by military veterans before the Senate Environment and Public Work Committee. Maj. Gen. Robert Scales (Ret.) and Lt. Colonel James Jay Carafano (Ret.) stressed the urgent security need to develop and utilize our domestic energy resources, which are the largest in the world. They also noted that the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill would make America more dependent on foreign oil, weaken our economy, and undermine our ability to protect the country from foreign threats.
During the hearing, Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.) highlighted a new CRS report released this week that shows America's combined recoverable natural gas, oil, and coal endowment is the largest on Earth. In fact, America's recoverable resources, Congressional Research Service (CRS) shows, are far larger than those of Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th), and Canada (6th) combined. And that's without including America's absolutely immense oil shale and methane hydrates deposits.
When pressed by Sen. Inhofe, Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists said the social and environmental cost of offshore domestic production is "too high"-reinforcing the environmental movement's staunch opposition and deliberate obstruction through lawsuits to developing America's resources. Watch: Environmentalists Say Keep Domestic Resources Off Limits
"Our overwhelming coal, natural gas, and oil resources represent tens of trillions of dollars in wealth and millions of American jobs," Senator Inhofe said. "Whether through decree or purposeful inaction, government policies that unnecessarily restrict or prevent our ability to responsibly produce these domestic resources are threatening, and could eventually undermine, our nation's economic and national security. We should pursue an all-of-the-above strategy that advances new energy technologies and also prioritizes developing the resources we have today.
"Yet cap-and-trade will make America more dependent on foreign oil and undermine our national security by destroying jobs and economic growth. By targeting carbon dioxide, the long-term goal of the Kerry-Boxer bill is to take these assets off the table - to tax these resources out of use. Cap-and-trade is merely the latest attempt to further isolate America's access to our own coal, oil and natural gas supplies."
During today's EPW Committee hearing, Senator Inhofe asked the panel, "shouldn't we develop our own resources?
Senator Inhofe: "...If you really feel sincere about not depending upon foreign countries, our enemies perhaps, depending on them for our ability to fight a war, shouldn't we develop our own resources? What do you think Colonel?"
Lieutenant Colonel James Jay Carafano: "Yes Sir."
Senator Inhofe: "I mean, is there anyone who would disagree that we need to develop our own resources?"
Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn: "We do need to develop our own resources, but we need to recognize that there is an opportunity cost. If we place too much of our time and effort and resources into the continuation of our track record of fossil fuel, there's a tremendous opportunity cost for not doing other things that are going to have much better returns in jobs in the near term and in national security and prosperity in the long term."
Senator Inhofe: "We're talking about fighting a war today, General Scales. You got to have fossil fuels to do it. Right now, we have fossil fuels, but we are importing fossil fuels from countries that could cut us off. There is a risk there. And when we're looking at our opportunity to develop fossil fuels, not at the expense of anything else, wind or anything else, but to develop them because we have these reserves, can you think of any reason not to do it?"
Major General Robert H. Scales: "I can't, Senator. And I'd also agree with Dennis that we need to push the limits of science, we need to find different fuels, we need to find alternative sources, we need to conserve. All that is absolutely essential for national security. I'm worried about the next 20 years, when whether we're fighting a war against a major power or a failed state is attempting to attack us, at the end of the day, we still have to fuel the machine, so to speak, and right now the only alternative is fossil fuels."
Senator Inhofe: "And, Senator Warner, don't you think we ought to develop our own resources?"
Senator Warner: "Absolutely, and if I might inject, there has been a lot of discussion here this morning about nuclear power. I was privileged to be a part of a navy where we had over a hundred platforms operating safely, as they have been throughout almost the entire history of the naval reactor program. We ought to draw on that technology, as the senator from Tennessee said, and put together a strong package as a part of any legislation to help the nuclear industry come back again to strength it once was in this country. And it seems to me you have to package that with also greater access to this 80%, and when you get down to legislating, colleagues, you know it's those types of packages that will balance off the cap and trade which is so intensely felt on part of this hearing room, as well as the energy sources of nuclear and drilling on the other side. And it's that type of package you've got to put together Madame Chairman to get this bill through. You're at a fork in the road right now as to whether or not Congress is going to lay down the road map for this country, or we're going to just rely on the executive branch and the inherent power of the agencies and departments."
Further excerpts from written testimony of Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Scales
"There is no scientific evidence that suggests that wars will be propelled and sustained by any power source other than fossil fuels. During the late nineties I created and superintended the "Army After Next" series of strategic war games. These games are still being conducted as the "Unified Quest" strategic games at the Army War College. In virtually every game we asked scientists from think tanks, the government and academia to offer evidence that fossil fuels will be replaced by other sources of power such as hydrogen, nuclear and electricity. During these and many subsequent games and studies, in spite of assiduous efforts to postulate alternatives, so far none have been found. The reasons are simple, consistent and unambiguous: we win wars by producing fighting machines more capable than the enemy's. Dominance in machine warfare on the land, sea and in the air requires fuels that generate the greatest combustion and heat from the smallest volume. Only fuels derived from petroleum will be capable of propelling aircraft, most ships and ground vehicles on and over battlefields where performance is measured by how efficiently fuels can be transferred into energy."
"To be sure the United States will gain substantial advantage on future battlefields by exploiting its superior information technology. Such an advantage will be sustained with a relatively low fuel cost. But industrial age machines must still be produced in large numbers to win against a large scale competitor. Ships, vehicles, guns and aircraft will continue to be made predominately from steel, aluminum, rubber and titanium. Ammunition and missiles will continue to require nitrates for explosives. An all of these machines and the materiel to support them must be transported to the theater of war and across and over the battlefield with fossil fueled engines."
"If the forecasts are correct this bill will, over the decades, slowly diminish the ability to produce fossil fuels in the strategic confines of American territory. According to one study American refining capacity could plummet because the cost of doing business would soar. Production at U S refineries would drop while production in counties that do not limit green house emissions would rise. We will have no assurance that off shore refining would take place in regions secure from foreign power influence. According to this study the United States would have to increase its petroleum imports by one fifth by 2030 as our domestic production would plummet by as much as 25%. Should we suffer such consequences the ability of the United States to surge its wartime energy production might well be held hostage to foreign interference and, sadly, our young men and women might well find themselves permanently stationed in areas of great danger and volatility in order to secure American access to foreign oil."