Defense Department’s Environmental Agenda to Come Under Fire – Blog

Anticipated actions by the Trump administration and Congress should lead to a significant rollback of the Pentagon’s renewable energy and climate initiatives. With the incoming administration poised to dismantle Obama’s clean energy and climate policies, the Pentagon could soon begin to phase out controversial programs like military biofuels and portable nuclear reactors.Trump has pledged to end policies that “undermine and block America’s fossil fuel producers,” rescind “job-destroying executive actions,” end the “war on coal” and scrap Obama’s “climate action plan and the clean power plan.”

The president-select has nominated leaders for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department whose views are diametrically opposed to those of the outgoing administration.Many of the Pentagon’s clean-energy programs, however, might be hard to undo as they are tied to the military mission or meet a specific tactical need. The military and intelligence communities’ climate focus also is rooted in security concerns. As a war commander, defense secretary nominee retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis was a vocal advocate of energy-saving initiatives.

He made headlines for speaking out about the military’s heavy dependence on fuel and calling for new approaches to manage and provide energy in the battlefield.Pentagon energy initiatives that reduce the military’s logistics burden should continue to receive support, but more comprehensive efforts by the Defense Department to increase use of renewable energy and curb the effects of climate change — programs that served as an extension of Obama’s national energy policies — are not likely to survive, experts say.“It’s not uncommon for an incoming administration to want to clear the slate,” says Sharon E.

Burke, a senior adviser at New America, a Washington think tank. “I just hope they have common sense about it and don’t throw away projects and programs that really support war fighter needs,” says Burke, who in 2010 was named the first-ever assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs. Burke speculates that Mattis will stick with energy programs that are clearly “core defense,” she says. When he led troops in Iraq, “Mattis considered operational energy issues to be in support of the war fighter.”Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division in 2003 in Iraq and worried his troops were slowed down by fuel resupply lines that could not keep up.

He later commented that the Defense Department…

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 Defense Department’s Environmental Agenda to Come Under Fire – Blog