Last week, I had the honor to speak with energy leaders at the Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit .
My message was simple: we all have to demand more accountability from politicians in Washington who are holding back our clean energy future.
We know that when we come together to set a goal, America will meet it--just look at how we got to the moon.
A step in the right direction toward energy independence for Hawaii and the U.S. is for Congress to support a more focused national energy policy modeled on the U.S. military's clean energy efforts.
They've set a goal of generating 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.
So that's the goal I called on Congress to set for the rest of the nation--a national renewable energy and efficiency standard to generate 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Here are the facts: The military is the number one consumer of oil in the U.S.
By spending $17 billion on oil last year, military leaders are painfully aware of the impact global oil prices have on our national security.
That's a 381 percent increase over what they spent in 2005--and the military has actually decreased its usage by 4 percent!
They also know that transporting oil to support missions in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost thousands of injuries and lost lives--a cost that we must do everything in our power to reduce and prevent from happening in the future.
That's why the military has become a leader in becoming more energy efficient and showing us the way forward with renewables.
Yet despite this, 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.
Sadly, influential senators and representatives are peddling 1950's answers to 2012's problems.
That's why we need a national renewable energy and efficiency standard.
We'd help attract private financing and support for new projects and technologies to help us meet those goals and foster a competitive, vibrant renewable energy industry in the U.S. in the process.
This would also provide Hawaii, which has strong renewable portfolio standards in place already, the opportunity to show other states the way on renewables.
This standard also complements our Path to Sustainability plan released this spring. This plan, written with input from energy leaders from across Hawaii, details how Congress can help Hawaii meet its goals through 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.
All we have to do is look at our gas prices and food costs to know we can't wait when it comes to our clean energy future.
That's why we need everyone involved and working together to lead us forward.
What do you think? Visit my website www.hirono.house.gov to send an email, call my District Office at (808) 541-1986 or send me a tweet at @maziehirono and share your ideas. The direct (free) numbers to call my office from the neighbor islands are:
Hawaii Island -- 935-3756
Kauai & Niihau -- 245-1951
Lanai -- 565-7199
Maui -- 242-1818
Molokai -- 552-0160
Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress
2nd District of Hawaii