Gen. Wesley Clark Responds: Future Military Energy Security Lies at Home
WASHINGTON, DC — Growth Energy, the leading coalition of American ethanol supporters, singled out an enormous oversight in a study produced by the RAND Corp. that claims advanced biofuels are not ready to replace petroleum in military hardware, such as warships and warplanes. The study overlooks the potential domestic impact that ethanol – derived from both grain and cellulosic feedstock – has in reducing the country’s reliance on foreign oil in the domestic fleet, and therefore reducing the U.S. military’s commitment in the Persian Gulf.
“Today, the only alternative any of us have to foreign oil is domestic ethanol – and the more domestic ethanol we produce, the more foreign oil we will displace in the domestic fleet. Ethanol is not a ‘someday’ fuel we’ll have to wait for decades to see an impact on our country’s dependence on foreign oil. It is here today, and we can eventually replace all the petroleum we import with ethanol that we make here in the U.S.,” said (Ret.) Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Co-Chairman of Growth Energy and former NATO Supreme Commander. “There is a hidden cost to oil, both in terms of blood and treasure. We are committing tens of billions of dollars and the lives of our fighting men and women each year to protect our country’s access to oil. We are draining more than $300 billion out of our economy as American workers pump their salaries overseas through the gas nozzle. It doesn’t have to be that way, and we don’t have to wait decades to see a change.”
Growth Energy made the following points on how ethanol could replace domestic use of foreign petroleum – ending the need for Defense Department hardware to use foreign oil in order to defend access to foreign oil:
- Cellulosic ethanol is the key to further U.S. energy independence. A report by Sandia National Laboratory and General Motors, “The 90 Billion Gallon Biofuel Deployment Study,” found biofuels could replace nearly a third of current U.S. gasoline use by the year 2030.
- Reliance on foreign oil has cost us more than $7 trillion over the last 30 years, according to a U.S. Department of Energy commissioned study. The Center for Forensic Economic Studies has estimated this “import premium” costs $24 per barrel of imported oil, further straining the U.S. economy: in addition to the direct outlay by U.S. taxpayers to maintain military forces in the Persian Gulf, as much as $1.55 is removed from the U.S. economy for every dollar spent on foreign oil.
- Yale University’s Journal of Industrial Ecology published peer-reviewed research that showed grain ethanol is 59 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline, and that cellulosic ethanol is at least 86 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline, in a Lifecycle Analysis.
- Grain ethanol produces both fuel and food – in the form of ethanol and in the form of Dried Distillers Grains, which are returned to the food chain as a highly-valued livestock feed. Ethanol production only removes the starch from the corn kernel, leaving behind the protein, fiber and oils that livestock producers desire.
About Growth Energy
Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at GrowthEnergy.org.