Former Navy Officers Say Stop Saddling the Military with Renewables

Former Navy Officers Say Stop Saddling the Military with Renewables
April 15, 2014

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly... (read full bio)

The United States is blessed with abundant conventional energy resources that can power the private-sector economy and maximize national security, but the Obama administration is pursuing renewable energy policies that weaken our economy and national security, naval veterans Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, Vice Admiral Edward S. Briggs, and Captain Donald K. Forbes write in a newly published report by The Heartland Institute.

The report, “Climate Change, Energy Policy, and National Power,” documents how the Obama administration’s fixation on reducing carbon dioxide emissions weakens the nation’s economy and national defense by prioritizing expensive renewable energy sources that siphon vital economic resources from both.

A copy of the new report is enclosed with this issue of Environment & Climate News.

Wrong Solution for OPEC Imports

The former military officers document the faulty logic of the Obama administration’s 2010 National Security Strategy document. The Obama administration claims U.S. dependency on OPEC oil compromises our energy independence and self-sufficiency during potential international crises. Less than 20 percent of U.S. oil comes from OPEC. Nevertheless, if the United States desires to close out that OPEC oil, a simple way of doing so would be to produce more domestic oil.

Seeking to address OPEC oil imports by committing the U.S. military and domestic economy to more expensive energy sources would be counterproductive economically and militarily, the former military officers explain.

“The President, Departments of Energy and Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency have initiated polices and established directives that restrict and affect the development of fossil fuel assets on government-controlled land and sea areas and aim at shutting down electric power generation burning coal,” the veterans explain.

“The consequences of this faulty reasoning are many, but they ultimately lead to the stifling of economic growth through restrictive government regulation that binds free enterprise, disadvantages the United State in global competition, and reduces our military preparedness,” observe the authors.

Faulty Environmental Reasoning

Environmental protection—a key reason cited by the Obama administration for emphasizing renewable fuel sources—is minimally advanced by renewable energy sources, assuming environmental protection is advanced at all.

Hayward and his colleagues write, “The reluctance to exploit the nation’s natural resources in pursuit of strategic energy independence results from a misinformation tsunami that deceives people into believing such economic activity involving fossil fuels adversely affects our environment. The United States Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the principal purveyor of the theory assigning most of the responsibility for global warming to the trace greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. … Under the long-established scientific method, proving a hypothesis requires proof by empirical evidence and replication by other independent scientists. Neither the IPCC nor any individual scientist has yet provided the empirical evidence,” states the report.

Importance of a Strong Economy

The Obama administration’s determination to saddle the U.S. military with expensive energy sources necessarily drains money and resources from defense personnel and equipment. The potential consequences are severe, the authors report.

“To be sure, credible military readiness depends on the nation’s economic strength and is strongly benefited by the unfettered exploitation of our energy resources, from extraction through production and delivery,” the former military officers report.

Importantly, the drive to saddle the U.S. military and domestic economy with expensive renewable fuels rests on the premise that “peak oil” threatens the availability of conventional energy sources in the near future. Instead, recent oil and natural gas discoveries, coupled with technological advances allowing access to previously unavailable deposits, have blessed our nation with abundant inexpensive conventional energy sources.

“This initiative reflects the Administration’s relentless pursuit of alternative fuels through subsidization while ignoring the reality of the burgeoning fossil fuel resource that is cost-effective, plentiful, and essential to our military forces,” state the veterans.

In short, if energy independence is truly a military priority, the best way to achieve such independence is to produce more of our abundant domestic conventional energy sources rather than devoting scarce resources to costly and unreliable renewable sources.

Hayward is a former chief of naval operations and commander-in-chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Briggs is a former commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Forbes is an aeronautical engineer, aircraft carrier-based naval aviator, and former commandant of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.

James M. Taylor (jtaylor@heartland.org) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

PULL QUOTES

“The reluctance to exploit the nation’s natural resources in pursuit of strategic energy independence results from a misinformation tsunami ...”
Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, Vice Admiral Edward S. Briggs, and Captain Donald K. Forbes “Climate Change, Energy Policy, and National Power”

“[C]redible military readiness depends on the nation’s economic strength and is strongly benefited by the unfettered exploitation of our energy resources, from extraction through production and delivery.”
Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, Vice Admiral Edward S. Briggs, and Captain Donald K. Forbes “Climate Change, Energy Policy, and National Power”

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly... (read full bio)