Ray Maybus and other “green energy” proponents should be made to walk the plank before our Navy is torpedoed from within.
Below are our comments (in bold brackets) to today’s Politico report “Navy powers up campaign for great green fleet.”
Navy powers up campaign for great green fleet
By Austin Wright
3/8/12 5:32 AM EST
Confronting the secretary of the Navy, an obviously frustrated Rep. Randy Forbes pounded his desk in a five-minute scolding over the service’s push for an ever greener fleet.
“You’re not the secretary of the energy, you’re secretary of the Navy,” the Virginia Republican told Ray Mabus in no uncertain terms. [Good strong statement.]
Instead of all the emphasis on biofuels and other alternative energies to power the Navy’s vast fleet of ships and planes, Forbes suggested bluntly during a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing that, particularly in these tough economic times, Mabus should concentrate on finding more money for more ships, planes and other pressing needs — in part to counter the growing Chinese presence in the Pacific.
“I love green energy. I’m not against it,” Forbes said. “It’s a matter of priorities.” [What is there to “love” about green energy?” What is the green energy success story?]
Increasingly, the Navy’s clean-energy agenda has become embroiled in politics since President Barack Obama highlighted the issue in his State of the Union address in January. [The captive military is the customer-of-last-resort for green energy crap.]
For Obama and Navy leaders, reducing dependence on foreign oil is a major priority, one that would save money over the long haul and make the service more resilient in the event of a global oil crisis. For some Republicans, though, the focus on energy projects is further evidence the president is flexing his executive powers to satisfy the demands of his liberal electoral base.
All the Navy secretary “has tried to do is push an energy agenda,” Forbes complained in an interview with POLITICO.
For his part, Mabus, the former governor of Mississippi tapped by Obama three years ago to be the top civilian leader of the Navy, takes it all in stride.
The U.S. must move away from its dependence on foreign oil, and the Navy’s clean-energy projects, including investments in algae-based biofuels, “have made us better warfighters,” Mabus said, explaining that for every $1 increase in oil prices per barrel, the Navy pays and additional $31 million in fuel costs. [Oil is cheaper than biofuels.]
“That means that our sailors and Marines steam less, train less, fly less,” Mabus said. “For these reasons, we have to be relentless in our pursuit of energy goals that will continue to make us a more effective fighting force and our military and our nation more energy independent.” [How? Biofuels are less efficient than oil.]
The efforts for a greener Navy don’t come cheap. In December, the service purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuels at $26.75 per gallon, POLITICO Pro reported. The biofuels were then mixed with petroleum-based fuels, typically costing just a few dollars a gallon.
One of the reasons behind the Navy’s investment in the more-expensive biofuels is to promote domestic alternative-energy production. Navy leaders contend that a vibrant clean-energy industry in the United States could protect the fleet from spikes in fuel prices.
Several studies suggest prices for alternative fuels will be competitive with petroleum by 2018 or soon after, said Tom Hicks, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for energy. Current energy initiatives, he said, are preparing the service to take advantage of the expected drop in the cost of clean energy. [How? Cellulosic ethanol has bee a bust.]
“It’s going to be critical to meet the goal and get the price point where we need it,” Hicks said in an interview. “We really see what we’re working on is not political in any way, shape or form.” [Not at all.]
One of Mabus’s key initiatives is to have half of the Navy’s total energy consumption come from alternative sources by 2020. The service plans to sail its Great Green Fleet by 2016 — a strike group powered largely by biofuels.
Leaders of the Marine Corps also have focused more on energy in recent years — a result of the high cost of moving huge volumes of fuel to U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan. Currently, the corps consumes more than 200,000 gallons a day there.
“For every 50 convoys we bring in in fuel, a Marine is killed or wounded,” Mabus told lawmakers last month. “That is too high a price to pay.” [Repeat: Biofuel is less efficient than fossil fuels.]
In all, about 3,000 U.S. troops or contractors have been killed or wounded protecting convoys, POLITICO has reported. Roughly 80 percent of convoys carry fuel. [War involves casualties. Convoys will always be necessary for food, fuel and water. How about better planned and protected convoys?]
The Marine Corps has set two major energy goals: to cut its battlefield requirements for energy by half by 2025 and to have half its bases produce as much energy as they consume by 2020. [Energy efficiency, historically, has been a waste of time, money and effort.]
“At the tactical level, we have seen some very promising results using renewable energy technologies in Afghanistan,” said Capt. Gregory Wolf, a media officer for the Marines. “It’s a huge battle space in Afghanistan. We have Marines all over Helmand province, and they’re widely dispersed. The reason we’re able to conduct such distributed operations is because of improved communication and surveillance systems, and those require batteries.”
Wolf pointed to SPACES — portable solar panels — as an example of a project that’s already making a difference by allowing Marines to charge equipment on the battlefield, reducing the need for batteries.
Still, the issue remains touchy for many Republicans, especially in light of other White House energy initiatives, including the Energy Department program that backed a loan to the now-bankrupt company Solyndra.
“Should the Navy have an open-ended budget to buy fuels at whatever cost makes sense?” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) asked at the Navy’s budget hearing. “Because renewable fuels will always be more expensive than conventional fuels.”
“Your premise is absolutely wrong,” Mabus shot back. “I know that what we are doing is making us a better military.” [Mabus is distracting the Navy from its mission.]
- Obama Defense Dept. Under Fire for Going Green
- DoD surrenders to EPA on sustainability
- EPA to regulate Army use of smoke grenades
- Military worry: Energy efficient tents
- Obama SOTU: Clean energy to be shoved down military’s throat
- U.S. military: Global warming is real
- Solar on military bases to circumvent greens?
- Greens: De-militarize the military
- 2012 defense budget props up biofuels industry
- GOP allows enviros to dictate DoD fuels
- Even SciAm admits bio-jet fuel of extremely dubious merit
- Wasting the defense budget on PC ‘energy’
- Air Farce: DOD wastes $117 million of stimulus on green energy projects
- Military is customer-of-last-resort for green scam
- Army greening thwarted: Windmill too big for Afghani roads
- Forget bin Laden: Gitmo is green!