Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (HI-02) today rallied energy leaders at the Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit to demand more accountability from politicians in Washington who are holding back our clean energy future and support a national energy policy modeled on the clean energy successes of the U.S. military by instituting a national renewable energy and efficiency standard.
"The military is the number one consumer of oil in the U.S. and as such has been made painfully aware of the impact global oil prices have on our national security. That's why it's been a leader in becoming more energy efficient and showing us the way forward with renewables," said Congresswoman Hirono. "Because fuel prices -- which we do not control -- make it hard for the military to stay on budget while also meeting key priorities like training and equipment for our men and women in uniform. The military is becoming the clean energy leader we need to emulate."
Hirono pointed out that even with this clear evidence that our dependence on fossil fuels undermines our national security, members of Congress are questioning the military's efforts to support clean energy development. This past spring, members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee passed amendments to the Defense bill blocking the military from supporting biofuels and purchasing cleaner alternative fuels.
"Influential senators and representatives are peddling 1950's answers to 2012's problems," said Hirono. "We need to change federal policy in the right direction -- away from fossil fuels. We should follow the military's model. And we should also implement a national renewable energy and efficiency standard. That will help us have a deliberate, focused, country-wide effort to make this transition."
Hirono wants to see the Congress adopt legislation based on the goal set by the Pentagon: To generate 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025. This national standard would help to attract private financing and support for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and technologies--helping to foster a competitive, vibrant renewable energy industry in the U.S. This would also provide Hawaii, which has strong renewable portfolio standards in place already, the opportunity to show other states the way on renewables.
Helping Hawaii become more sustainable and end its dependence on imported oil is a priority of Hirono's. Earlier this spring, she released a Path to Sustainability plan, written with input from energy leaders from across Hawaii, detailing how Congress can help Hawaii meet its goals. The plan is based on four principles:
1. Invest in research and support new innovations.
2. Help our families and businesses transition to clean energy.
3. Train our people for the jobs of tomorrow.
4. Invest in energy efficiency.
"The idea that politics doesn't matter on the issue of clean energy is dead wrong. You see our gas prices and our cost of food. This is why we can't wait and why we need you to get involved," said Hirono. "It's up to all of us to lead us forward."