This is a guest post by Robin Eckstein. A 7 year US Army Veteran and member of Operation Free. A coalition of Veterans and National Security Organizations dedicated to securing America with clean energy.
During my service in Baghdad as a truck driver for the US Army, I became accustomed to an institution that took quick and decisive action in order to deal with and respond to challenges. And today, as a veteran, I have become familiar with the slow and deliberate pace of change in Washington.
Last month, I spoke at a White House energy forum which was attended by other national security experts including many representatives from the Departments of Defense and Energy. Secretary Mabus and Deputy Secretary Poneman both expressed a joint, clear vision of a military committed to breaking dependence on oil, increasing energy efficiency, and developing and implementing new clean energy sources to fuel the fight. The military seems to be committed to getting done what the U.S. Congress cannot.The Senate could not muster up enough support to pass comprehensive climate and energy reform, even in the face of the Department of Defense’s declaration that climate change poses a strategic threat to our national security. It’s time to sidestep the bickering in Washington and take action for clean, American energy. For over a year, Operation Free veterans have travelled around the country educating the American people about the undeniable connection between our oil dependence, climate change, and our safety at home and abroad. This has been a tough year, but we have rallied enormous support. And despite the Senate’s inaction, there are new fronts in our fight and new ways to make a difference. Besides comprehensive energy legislation, there are two important ways that Operation Free will be fighting to protect our security. First, there are new rules coming that will make cars more efficient – decreasing our dependence on oil from hostile nations. By requiring that our cars get better mileage, we will deny hostile countries tens of billions in oil profit and reduce carbon pollution. Second, big oil companies and their lobbyists, fresh from halting climate legislation, are gearing up to take us even further backwards by trying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from doing anything to halt the dangerous effects of climate. My fellow veterans and I will be working to stop this new “Rockefeller Bill” from rolling back our progress. The next step begins today. On August 26, Operation Free veterans will descend on Marshall for a Town Hall meeting to raise these issues with the people of Michigan. And that’s not all – we’ll be in Virginia, Ohio, and Florida over the next couple of weeks. Together, Americans can break the logjam of special interests which, has for too long, put our security at risk. Please join me in continuing this fight. We hope you can join us on August 26 as a message that the people of Michigan stand with our troops in support of clean energy and climate change reform.