Joint Hearing of the Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee and the Oversight Subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - "Oversight Hearing on EPA's Work with Other Federal Entities to Reduce Pollution and Improve Environment"
Chairman Sanders, thank you for holding this important hearing today. I believe one of the primary reasons for this hearing is to highlight the Obama administration's efforts to impose its green energy agenda on our military. I have long been outspoken in my opposition to their use of the military to promote a green agenda at the expense of affordable energy. Gas prices today are skyrocketing, yet here we are today talking about alternative energy agenda that will force our military to spend even more on energy resources at a time when the Obama administration is gutting our military budget.
Now let me be clear: I have always supported efforts to make more efficient use of our natural resources and taxpayer dollars. For instance, EPA's WaterSense program, a voluntary public-private partnership, is a great example of a cost effective conservation program geared toward saving money and protecting water resources. What I don't support, however, are policies that are designed to raise the price of traditional energy to make alternatives more competitive, especially at a time when our military and American families can least afford it.
I'm glad to welcome witnesses from the Department of Defense (DoD) at the table because I will have a number of questions for you. As I pointed out last week in an Armed Services hearing, I am deeply disappointed that DoD is expending increasing amounts of its scarce resources on expensive alternative energy when your budget is being slashed by a half trillion dollars over the next ten years. DoD is already drastically cutting its personnel, the number of brigade combat teams, tactical fighters, and airlift aircraft. It is cutting 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. Forcing DoD to expend more money on expensive alternative fuels further exacerbates its budget issues. For example, the Secretary of the Navy has pledged taxpayer funds of $170 million as their share of a $510 million effort to construct or retrofit biofuel refineries in order to create a commercially viable market and recently purchased $26 per gallon fuel. And as if the Services are not already stressed by serious budget cutbacks, the Secretary directed the Navy and Marine Corps to produce or consume one gigawatt of new, renewable energy to power naval installations across the country. I frankly do not believe you should be using defense funds to develop private sector alternative energy capability especially when we're delaying and canceling the important projects mentioned above. With a range of domestic alternatives already commercially viable and in use such as CNG or LNG, taxpayer funds do not need to be used to pick winners and losers.
Make no mistake, this Administration's policies are killing jobs, undermining the economy, and threatening America's long-term security. I don't share the opinions of Senator Boxer and Al Gore that global warming will be the leading cause of conflict in our world over the next twenty years or that it is more of a threat than terrorism. 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, its reckless. Any discussion of "EPA's work with other federal entities to reduce pollution and improve environmental performance" as this hearing is titled, must include a discussion of policies that restore balance between policies that protect the environment and those that kill jobs and weaken our national security. I hope that the Senate will soon act to restore that balance.