Energy-Independence Day 2013

Paul Evans

Let us celebrate this 4th of July as the beginning of the end of wars in the Gulf – at least the beginning of the end of wars in the Gulf – for oil.

This 4th of July we celebrate Independence Day with a little more enthusiasm than last year.

The seemingly endless 2012 Presidential Campaign ended with a roar instead of a squeak as the President won an impressive victory with margins to spare in both the Electoral College as well as the Popular Vote.

Our economy appears to be improving: slow to be sure our nation is pulling itself into a new economic framework.

And the US Military continues toward withdrawal in Afghanistan in a measured, orderly pace.

In simplest terms, we approach this Independence Day a little stronger – a little wiser – than before. Our nation is struggling to progress in spite of the Congressional dysfunction that will define the McConnell/Boehner Era.

Ironically, Congressional dysfunction has empowered the President to assume expanded authorities in development of energy and independence. This past week President Obama charted a new course for our nation – and intends upon realizing the goals envisioned through creative administrative forms and function.

Impotency in Congress serves to strengthen the power and resolve of the President. In spite of the made-for-television soap-opera mini-scandals of late, the President has advanced his agenda - especially on energy independence.

I applaud his efforts and encourage all Americans to recognize our shared vision for energy independence in the near-term.

For too long we have sent young men and women into Harm’s Way to defend the Gulf States and the fossil fuels underneath the sands and seas.

It is time that we stop the madness and realize energy independence so that we can reclaim the kind of security and self-determination that can only exist when a nation is self-reliant.

To that purpose I will travel to Washington DC next week to join a platoon of fellow veterans’ on Capitol Hill for a series of meetings on national security and energy independence.

Our hope is to represent the millions of men and women that have worn the uniform in defense of our country; to demonstrate the resolve of veterans in seeking new solutions to the problems of our times.

We are assembling in our national capital to share our narratives – to explain in human terms the price of continuing our existing dependence upon foreign energy. We are all fortunate to be given this opportunity to give voice for the fallen: we take seriously our responsibility to the memory of our comrades-in-arms.

Like all such efforts, ours is an amalgamation of life experience and political perspectives. We have differences in terms of means, but we are united in dogged pursuit of the ends.

Truth be told, some among our number will advocate for a more aggressive domestic petroleum strategy, they have earned the right to advance this cause.

However, I intend to focus upon a national call to arms for development of alternative energies for civilian purposes on an unprecedented scale: a phased-in requirement for alternative energy production at all public facilities, a phased-in requirement for maximizing alternative energy production in open public skies, spaces, and waterways, and a demand for a restructured package of incentives for private sector alternative energy development on the basis of national security.

We must make ourselves independent from the influence of those that seek to constrain our actions; we must make ourselves resilient and sustainable in an age of ascendant global competitiveness.

Until now we have generally understood alternative energy development as a “green priority;” it was something we knew we should do because of the undeniable impact of petroleum-based products upon our global environment.

While this environmental justice narrative is powerful, it is incomplete. Another justification for energy independence can be found in the reality of modern America: we pay for oil with blood – each, every day we maintain troops in the Gulf.

We can find a way to develop cleaner more efficient fossil fuel utility even as we develop alternatives that provide farther reach for those things that will always require fossil fuels.

We can find a way to dramatically reduce our dependence upon foreign energy even as we recognize the true costs of a barrel of crude.

And we can find a way to bring our nation together in order to lessen the likelihood of sending young men and women into Harm’s Way again.

Americans share a common objective: fewer wars of foreign interest.

Because of this shared objective, we can – and we will – seek out reasonable, responsible compromise in pursuit of energy independence.

Let us celebrate this 4th of July as the beginning of the end of wars in the Gulf – at least the beginning of the end of wars in the Gulf – for oil.

Let us honor the sacrifice of the men and women that gave what Lincoln called, “their last full measure of devotion” through collaborating, cooperating, and coordinating new strategies for a new Era of Energy Independence.

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