U.S. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today issued a second letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus requesting again a full, detailed report on the cost of the U.S. Navy's "Green Fleet" demonstration and overall alternative energy program. Sen. Inhofe's first request was made on July 24, which led to Sec. Mabus responding to only a few of the questions.
"To be clear, I fully support the development and use of all sources of alternative fuels," said Inhofe in the letter. "For the sake of our energy security and independence, we must take an all-of-the-above approach in order to end our dependence on foreign oil. This includes making full use of Research and Development (R&D) funds to test, evaluate and certify all types of alternative fuels. At the same time, I believe these pursuits within themilitary must be sensible and affordable solutions. Using scarce Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funds impacts readiness and jeopardizes the lives of our service men and women."
The second letter to Sec. Mabus reiterated the unanswered questions that would qualify "at a minimum" as disclosing the total cost for the demonstration. Sen. Inhofe also requested a report on the Navy's R&D and O&M expenditures on alternative energy over the past 10 years. A copy of the letter can be read here.
Sec. Mabus' initial response answered Sen. Inhofe's questions on the cost to ship the fuel from Louisiana and Texas to Washington state by ground; cost to the Navy to paint logos on its aircrafts and ships to promote the event; and cost of the green hats and t-shirts to mark the event and who provided the funding. This came to a total of almost $13 million. A copy of the letter can be read here.
"The budget cuts DOD and all the Services have already absorbed, in addition to those that could be realized under sequestration, are a stark reminder of how responsible the DOD must be with current acquisitions and planned purchases," said Inhofe in the letter. "It is imperative that DOD and all the Services effectively use the shrinking funds available to continue providing an adequate defense for the men and women of this country and ourallies abroad."
In closing, Sen. Inhofe asked about the Navy's involvement with the Department of Defense (DOD) in funding the design and construction of "commercial-scale" biorefineries. Despite the DOD being denied by SASC in 2011 to reprogram $170 million from O&M for these refineries, the FY'12 Omnibus provided an unspecified amount to build biofuel refineries. In President Obama's FY'13 budget request, $70 million more is appropriated for building these refineries.
Sen. Inhofe has been the leading voice exposing the Obama Administration's attempt to force its liberal green agenda through the Department of Defense. He has expressed concern that the "greening" of the military is stalling advancements in energy independence and undermining national security.