A joint hearing in Washington, D.C., examines energy issues.
With gas prices near record highs across the country, U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a joint hearing on March 27, 2012, to examine how U.S. armed forces are working to diversify the nation’s fuel supply and become more energy efficient, and how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is assisting in these efforts.
The hearing was entitled “Oversight Hearing on EPA’s Work with Other Federal Entities to Reduce Pollution and Improve Environmental Performance,” and was held under the joint jurisdiction of Whitehouse’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Oversight, and Sanders’ EPW Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy.
“The military understands that global warming is real, but for the military, investing in energy efficiency and sustainable energy is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions” Sanders said. “It is about protecting our soldiers in the field, where estimates show that 1 of every 24 fuel resupply convoys in Afghanistan resulted in a U.S. casualty, and one of every eight soldiers killed in Iraq was protecting a fuel convoy. That is why it is good news that the military has developed innovative solar-powered bases with energy storage that can diminish or eliminate the need for convoys, reducing the risks to our troops. With the Department of Defense being the largest single consumer of energy in the United States, energy efficiency and sustainable energy investments at military facilities are also creating savings for the taxpayer.”
Investing in renewable energy
In October 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order #13524 (EO), calling for the federal government to undertake energy efficiency efforts. Federal agencies set a number of sustainability targets, including greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets which amount to a 28 percent reduction below 2008 levels by 2020. The Department of Defense pledged the most ambitious reductions of any agency.
“The Army requires secure and uninterrupted access to energy. Investment in energy capabilities, including renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, will help ensure the Army can meet mission requirements today and into the future,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Kidd. “Reducing energy use across the Army is mission critical, operationally necessary and financially prudent.”
USIFI Lobby Days
The United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI), a division of IFAI, holds “Lobby Days” each year in Washington, D.C., early in the congressional session, organized with the help of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC). The 2012 event concluded in April with visits to 51 Senate and House offices and three important full-group meetings with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the House Ways and Means Committee and Congressman Larry Kissell’s office. Managers from fifteen companies attended the two-day event. Stephen P. Katz, director of engineered membranes sales and customer service for the Cooley Group, was part of the event, with Darius Shirzadi, specialty products business manager, and Daniel R. Dwight, Cooley president and CEO. Katz commented on an encounter that the group had with Senator Whitehouse during the joint hearing on energy efficiency.
“Senator Whitehouse came out to speak with the three of us from Cooley, and we mentioned that we are working on projects in support of renewable energy using our engineered membrane material combined with thin, flexible solar panels. Senator Whitehouse returned to the subcommittee hearing and mentioned that he had just met with us, and shared with them one of our projects that applies solar panels to a military tent. It was a wonderful, real-time experience with our senator, who is genuinely interested in Rhode Island manufacturers and renewable energy.”