All of Washington’s politicians seem caught up in the latest crisis of the moment—the so-called “fiscal cliff” that threatens most Americans with huge tax increases as well as significant cuts in spending. On the spending side, many are concerned because the Department of Defense is targeted for one half of all the cuts in expenditures. But that didn’t stop the U.S. Senate in a bipartisan fashion from flushing taxpayer dollars out the afterburner by agreeing to allow the Defense Department during this time of crisis to continue their absurd green energy program that wastes money on such things as $27 per gallon biofuel.
Even after the Senate Armed Services Committee put a stop to this foolishness in May on this year’s defense authorization bill, 11 Republicans joined with their Democratic colleagues this week in a 62-37 vote to override the experts on the committee and go ahead and give the temporary politicians who run the Defense Department more taxpayer money to waste in pursuit of the Obama administration’s relentless quest for more green energy regardless of cost.
The Defense Department uses about 130 million barrels of oil per year, or about as much as Sweden consumes. The argument of the Obama administration’s political appointees, led by Secretary of the Navy and former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus is that if the Defense Department can figure out new fuels to replace oil, the US and its military will be that much more secure. Evidently Secretary Mabus is unaware that according to most analysts, the US will become the world’s largest oil-producing nation sometime before 2020. This is in large part due to the spectacular increases in nongovernment land oil and gas production, and despite Secretary Mabus’s administration’s best efforts to reduce production on government lands.
You see, if the secretary was paying attention—or cared—he would have done due diligence in his homework and found that contrary to the politically correct notion that somehow we are running low on fuel in the United States and indeed the world, we are in fact living in an age when we are finding and producing more oil than ever and world proven reserves of oil are at their highest level ever. How the secretary believes the national security of the United States is enhanced by spending 10 times as much as necessary for fuel within an increasingly limited defense budget is beyond comprehension.
Even more stunning is the fact that senators who should know better fell for the secretary’s claptrap. For example, a spokesman for Senator Lisa Murkowski told the National Journal that “Secretary Mabus talked to her on this issue and explained it as an important national-security issue for the military. “Senator Murkowski understood that.” Senator Murkowski is the incoming ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and represents the state of Alaska, which recently was surpassed in oil production by North Dakota where the federal government only owns 3% of the lands.
Interestingly, if the military uses 130 million barrels of oil per year, that means that Alaska’s ANWR, which is estimated to hold 10.4 billion barrels of oil at the mean would supply all of the military’s needs for 80 years. Yet Secretary Mabus’s administration opposes the opening of ANWR’s oil, apparently preferring the green biofuels costing 10 times as much. ANWR’s 10.4 billion barrels of oil are worth almost $1 trillion to the US economy at today’s price of oil, and the jobs, revenue and security of supply they would offer our nation draw a bright contrast to the expensive and unnecessary green energy the Senate decided to waste taxpayers money on this past week. In fact, Secretary Mabus’s administration actually closed 50% of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska earlier this year for oil exploration. This area was set aside in 1920 as an oil reserve for the Navy, and until 1976, was actually called the “Naval Petroleum Reserve Alaska.” Would anyone be interested in a bet as to whether Secretary Mabus is even aware of that?
This is but one example of why many people have had it with Washington DC and its seeming inability to act like adults during a time of national crisis and growing international instability. On the one hand we can squander limited funds belonging to the military on fuels that are both unnecessary and outrageously expensive. On the other, we could simply allow Americans to go to work to produce secure American supplies of energy which would actually help generate revenue for our military and all other uses. Our ” leaders” in Washington did that thing they always seem to do— the wrong thing that we will pay for long into the future.
The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.
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