U.S. Navy servicemen and women recently debuted the “Great Green Fleet,” the first aircraft carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative, nonpetroleum-based fuels. Despite this latest success, however, some congressional conservatives on the Senate and House Armed Services committees want to slash funding for this and other Defense Department clean energy programs. This would short-circuit investments in energy innovation that could have civilian applications and benefits, helping our nation become less reliant on oil. In addition, sole reliance on oil-based fuels subjects the defense budget to increased spending for fuel when the price of oil spikes.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus provided the leadership to build the “Great Green Fleet”—an essential milestone in the Department of Defense’s efforts to reduce its oil dependence by diversifying fuels. The development and use of alternative fuels is vital to the safety of our troops because it diversifies the fuel mix that powers their vessels, planes, and vehicles. That makes them less vulnerable to an oil supply disruption in the Middle East or elsewhere. It is also vital to the long-term fiscal health of our nation because any effort to reduce our reliance on volatilely priced fossil fuels is good for our economy. The Navy’s investment in alternative fuels to power the “Great Green Fleet” is an essential effort to reduce its oil dependence and exposure to volatile prices.
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