July 25 2012

Green Navy Initiative Should Make Taxpayers See Red

Vicki E. Alger

As if imposing a green agenda on the private sector weren’t enough, the Obama administration’s pet project has also been foisted on our military—with similar success. According to Human Events:

…the simple demonstration near Hawaii featured a guided missile cruiser and two destroyers pushing through the ocean, escorted by an assortment of aircraft maneuvering above—all powered by a $12 million purchase of the experimental fuels. At about $26 per gallon, the biofuels cost between five and six times more than conventional sources.

Astounded at the potential costs of investing in experimental energy, the House and Senate both wrote biofuels expenditures out of their versions of the Fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act in June.

The House also included a provision that would exempt the military from carbon emissions limits that keep the federal government from using cheap and plentiful domestic fuel sources such as oil shale, and this week Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wrote a letter to President Barack Obama petitioning him to repeal the limits wholesale.

“You have vehemently claimed that requiring DoD to spend exorbitant amounts of an already stretched budget on alternative fuels is about national security…one common-sense solution to drive down the cost of fuel would be to repeal the restrictions,” Inhofe wrote.

“We don’t have to be dependent on the Middle East if we can just develop our resources here at home,” the senator told Human Events in an interview.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who has publicly chastised Mabus for his extensive support of government funding for the biofuels market, told Human Events he wasn’t against any form of alternative energy; he just wanted to see due diligence studies on the cost and benefits of biofuels completed before the Navy embraced them….

The Navy Secretary may not have access to defense funds to pay for this green vision, but the Obama administration announced earlier this month that a partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and the Navy would allow for an additional investment of $30 million to support biofuels development and research. Even so, a deployed green fleet, projected earlier this year to debut in 2016, may face indefinite postponement.

The United States military is often used to test experimental technologies and concepts with military application. Other times our military is used as a social issues laboratory—including last Wednesday’s event.

Making biofuels the Navy’s preferred energy source seems odd given the explosive growth of discovered natural gas inventories throughout the United States mainland.  The list of known deposits has grown so rapidly that the price has dropped 80 percent in the last four years.

It could also be risky. Currently China is jockeying for dominance over its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Republic of the Philippines, not to mention us. Recently China announced plans to boost defense spending 11 percent in 2012.

In a world of evolving and growing tensions, prudence dictates that the United States be prepared to meet any contingency—rather than impose what amounts to a 600 percent tax on our ability to respond to emerging threats.  

I shared the Human Events article on the maiden voyage of the Great Green Fleet with my husband, a U.S. Navy LCDR who’s also had extensive experience working with that other alternative fuel…nuclear power.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Our fleet developed modern nuclear power and operates two of the four tested and operational ballistic missile defense systems.  We can certainly figure out a way to run greener while keeping fuel costs at or below current levels.”

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