As the Senate Armed Services Committee gears up for a committee markup of the defense authorization bill, Mark Udall joined with colleagues in asking the Chief of Naval Operations for the U.S. Navy to respond to House Republicans' move to limit the funds available for the military to procure alternative fuels.
"Disruptions to our nation's fuel supplies caused by international conflict and instability have had severe implications for Colorado consumers and our nation's economy," Udall said. "These supply disruptions also have severe implications for our nation's military. Our armed forces consume 300,000 barrels of oil a day. A significant disruption to our fuel imports could place our nation's military in a dangerous predicament. That is why I have joined with my colleagues in asking the U.S. Navy to weigh in on this short-sighted, political maneuver by House Republicans to deny the military an all-of-the-above energy policy."
Udall has been an outspoken advocate for the military's pursuit of alternative fuels. In April, he led a letter to commend the Secretary of the Navy on his commitment to developing and employing renewable energy technologies in order to protect our troops and cut our country's reliance on foreign oil. Udall has been a vocal advocate for shoring up both our country's energy and national security. Last year, Udall introduced the Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2011 with Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to help the military save money and lives by reducing its reliance on foreign fossil fuel, and he fought to include key provisions of it in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act.
Please contact Mike Saccone at 202-224-4334.
Dear Admiral Greenert,
We write today as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in preparation for the upcoming Committee mark-up of the annual National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, currently scheduled for the week of May 21st.
We would like to request your views on an amendment adopted by the House Armed Services Committee that would limit the availability of funds for procurement of alternative fuels by the Department of Defense. A copy of the amendment is attached.
For over 200 years, the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy have been on the leading edge of innovation and technological achievement, and your efforts to reduce the Navy's dependence on fossil fuels and outdated energy technologies is in the finest traditions of military scientific leadership. We are concerned that a provision which restricts the military from making advancements in efficiency and the development of alternative energy sources will harm the current and future readiness of our naval forces, make it difficult for our men and women in uniform to carry out their current mission, and will ultimately degrade our national security.
Continued reliance on foreign oil puts U.S. troops at unnecessary risk on and off the battlefield. In addition, the fiscal costs related to DOD's dependence on fossil fuels are staggering. The annual Pentagon fuel bill increases by $130 million for every dollar increase in the cost per barrel of oil. This year alone, the Department of Defense will face an additional $1.3 billion bill as a result of the recent rise in fuel prices.
Given that our military consumes approximately 300,000 barrels of oil per day, research into alternative fuels is a strategic and economic necessity. As Admiral Mark Ferguson, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, our fuel bill alone is "consuming our readiness account" and "we need to look at alternatives."
The aforementioned amendment, if enacted, in our view would tie the hands of our military leaders, restrict the Navy's ability to make critical advancements on alternative energy and hamper our efforts to decrease our dependence on foreign sources of energy. In your capacity as Chief of Naval Operations, we respectfully request your views on this amendment and further information about how it might affect your current mission.
We appreciate your consideration. Thank you for your leadership and your continued service to our nation.