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January 28, 2012 12:44 AM UTC

Somebody Get Mike Coffman The Memo

  • by: Colorado Pols

Normally reliable on the issue of finding efficiencies and responsibly cutting military expenditures, as we’ve noted in this space a few times, Rep. Mike Coffman surprisingly–or maybe not surprisingly–isn’t very happy with the recent push by the Department of Defense to embrace renewable energy. From Rep. Coffman’s press release following President Barack Obama’s speech on the topic in Colorado yesterday:

“No doubt, the military needs to do everything it can to reduce what it spends on the energy necessary to support our troops and they should use renewable energy sources whenever it is cost effective to do so.  

“Unfortunately, so far the president’s Green Energy initiative for the Department of Defense has everything to do with scoring political points with environmentalists and very little to do with supporting our war fighters.  

“By forcing our military to adopt high-cost renewable energies, [Pols emphasis] while at the same time pushing for reductions in military personnel, the president will ultimately force further reductions to achieve his costly Green Energy initiative while also meeting his demands for a smaller military.”

“Scoring political points?” Funny, that’s not what the American Forces Press Service said in their story about the same presidential visit:

Obama recognized that DOD isn’t embracing clean energy simply because “it feels good,” but also because it makes economic sense.

“Our number one priority is always the security of this nation,” he emphasized. And “what our military understands is that if we’re smart on energy that saves DOD budgets that allow them to do a whole bunch of other things.”

…Obama also noted that the Navy’s F/A-18 Green Hornet is powered by a 50/50 biofuel blend. And last year, the Air Force flew an A-10 Thunderbolt entirely on alternative fuels – a first for the military.

“Overall, the Air Force is on track to save $500 million in fuel costs over the next five years because you guys have changed the way you operate. Think about that: half a billion dollars,” he told the audience, drawing big applause. [Pols emphasis]

Scientific American explains another important consideration in making this switch:

The Department of Defense burns more oil than any other single entity on Earth: as much as $18 billion worth a year, or 80% of the federal governments’ energy tab. So when they decide to limit that oil in favor of renewables, it’s going to create a massive and instantaneous market. And while the cost in dollars is driving some of the armed forces’ well-publicized moves into clean energy, there is a more sober factor: The cost in lives.

A significant share of American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan have occurred guarding fuel convoys, and resupply missions threaten operations around the world. Sierra Magazine’s extensive reporting reveals just how much defending fuel resupply lines in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us in terms of lives: One out of every 24 fuel convoys in Afghanistan (and one out of 38 in Iraq) led to the death of a soldier in 2007. In 2007 alone, that adds up to hundreds dead given the 6,000 recorded fuel convoys. Between 2003 and 2010 more than 3,000 troops have been killed or wounded while moving fuel, states Lt Col Melinda F. Morgan of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. [Pols emphasis]

Saving soldiers’ lives? That’s something we thought Mike Coffman would care about. The fact is, the military’s push for energy efficiency and renewable fuels predates the Obama administration, though Obama has expanded the program. The Department of Defense supports it to save money, effort, and lives on the battlefield–not some hippie feel-good pursuit.

Bottom line: you’ve got to keep it in mind at all times. Coffman’s job this year is to complain.


30 thoughts on “Somebody Get Mike Coffman The Memo

  1. That American Forces Press Service story is just quoting Obama’s speech. Nowhere does the story defend Obama on the “scoring political points” topic.

    You guys are getting sloppy.

    1. The article refutes Coffman’s contention this is just to score points with envrionmentalists ($500 million in savings).

      It doesn’t need to “defend” against Coffman’s purely partisan attack.

        1. 1) The DoD press is not going to criticize the commander in chief.

          2) Obama can say whatever he wants, that’s not proof of anything.

          3) Coffman agrees that the military should use renewable energy where it is cost effective. Coffman’s problem is forcing the military to switch to renewables when there is no economic reason to. He’s not alone, even if a lot of today’s DoD is driven by civilian political goals now.

          1. We want more dependence on foreign oil

            We want more dependence on foreign oil

            We want more dependence on foreign oil

            We want our soldiers to die fighting for oil

            We want our soldiers to die fighting for oil

            We want our soldiers to die fighting for oil

            We don’t want any change in creating sustainable energy policies.

            If Obama is for it than we’re against it whatever it is.

            We’re happy to lick the assholes of foreign sheiks as long as it means we don’t agree with Obama.

          2. You’re a lying piece of shit to say that the investment in renewable energy by the military is a civilian political goal.  Just because you say it doesn’t make it true and you offer no proof of it you sheik loving shit.  Your obviously sufferint Obama Derangement Syndrome which has no cure.

            Fuck you and your fervent desire to maintain our addiction to Middle Eastern oil because you have an intense personal hatred the president of our country and can’t accept anything he does on any issue as beneficial.

              1. That is why it is shelved for now.  Looking at the energy economics, it takes the equivalent of one barrel of oil to get two barrels out of tar sands, not to mention the emissions and cost in water.  How does that make sense?

                As for the water, I would bet that in 100 years that water will be a more imortant resource than oil, yet the result of Keystone is to trade one for the other.  

                I realize I am wasting my time by trying to provide information to you. But good god man!  

          3. it is civilians who decide DoD’s mission and goals. The DoD, every branch of the military, of course wants every new shiny thing. So does Ag, Commerce, State, etc. But, the civilian politicians are there to decide what they get, when and how much of it. BOTs say give them whatever they want if it is defense. Then we end up with F-16 parts being produced well beyond possible use and in 22 states.

  2. even in Romney World.  But  more important economically:

    So when they decide to limit that oil in favor of renewables, it’s going to create a massive and instantaneous market

    More important period:

    Between 2003 and 2010 more than 3,000 troops have been killed or wounded while moving fuel, states Lt Col Melinda F. Morgan of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. [Pols emphasis]

    Guess when push comes to shove being an ideologically obedient Republican is more important to Coffman than  the fact that renewables will end American blood for oil.  

  3. It creates an instant market that will ultimately create new markets that will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy which will result in less blackmail and better security.

    In military terms, Obama has out flanked the Republicans like Grant did against Lee at the Spotsylvania Court House and they still haven’t figured it out.  No point trying to work with them in Congress when they have shown during the Grand Bargain debate that they will bargain in bad faith every time.  Go around them and seize the initiative before they figure it out.  

    1. It’s not easy to turn on a dime and CD6 has been a district where Dems are lucky to get any poor schlub to take on the burden in time, energy and money with no chance of winning, just to be saved them from the embarrassmewnt of not running anyone.  In it’s new more competitive but certainly not bright blue form, it’s still not a great bet for taking a seat this time around from a scandal free incumbent who isn’t considered extreme. It probably won’t be this election but the days of unbroken GOP hegemony in CD6 are numbered. The sun is setting on your CD6 empire, baby.  

    2. who wants the US to continue to be dependent on foreign oil for our energy needs.

      All Republicans who support continued reliance on foreign oil must go.  We need people in Congress who understand the need to become energy independent and are willing to step it up to find new solutions.

      You notice none of these traitors mention the fact that the Obama Administration opened up 75% of the offshore coasts to new drilling.  I guess that doesn’t fit the narrative of being in the pocket of the environmentalists, who are evil because they care about the planet and long term survivability.  Whatever happened to “Drill Baby Drill”?

      What fucking traitors all of them.  Coffman and all of his “can’t change our addiction to oil” cronies must go.

    3. and his campaign for wanting more dependence on foreign oil.  Let’s see how many more votes he will get by advocating for letting our sons and daughters die for oil.

  4. Meet Ray Mabus, Sec of the Navy since May 19, 2009:

    A pretty accomplished fellow!

    And isn’t this interesting… Navy Climate Change Roadmap dated May 21st 2010.

    The Navy and Alternative Fuel Testing:

    Be sure to also check out some of the ‘Related Content’ links.

    Actually all branches of the military have alternative energy research ongoing.  There is enough information out there to make GOP heads spin!  

    In spite of a preponderance of military Generals and officers being Republican, they are very smart in being aware of the relationship between National Security and Climate Change.

    And anyone who doesn’t believe that, including Rep. Coffman, should at least read their roadmap and many other papers on National Security, Climate Change and Alternative Energy.

    Secretary Maybus is right and Rep Coffman is wrong, as per usual!

    1. And also some uses of solar & wind.  

      Then the domestic uses and production will evolve from there, as so many other great research projects have originated from the government (military or regular government).

      These research projects will result in savings for the military and many opportunities for domestic production and sale.

      That is one of the ways that the US Government has always provided a ‘climate’ for businesses to prosper and succeed!

      Three cheers for the US Military and their foresight!!!

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