April 28, 2022

By Ramona Cornell du HouxE

OPA asks Pres. Biden to use the Defense Production Act to help Ukraine by accelerating a clean energy economy at home and exporting clean tech to Europe

A Capitol Hill news conference in support of accelerating America’s clean energy transition to protect our planet from climate change, strengthen our national security, and lower costs for families was held April 27, hosted by the Clean Action Campaign. Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) took part.

With real climate change solutions, we can meet the existential climate crisis threat that the UN IPCC reports say we must to avoid catastrophic outcomes because of human caused climate change. The Pentagon first called climate change a “threat multiplier” in 2014, and openly says it is a risk to national security. Direct threats from extreme weather put military bases at risk, and increase conflicts around the world as drought and floods impact critical water and food supplies, and vast mass migrations of refugees.

American democracy provides avenues, like the Defense Production Act (DPA), to protect America from national security threats. Our system also affords opportunities to act through Congress. The US Senate has an opportunity right now to do the right thing for national security and the security of the planet by voting on the climate bill before them.

The Senate could pass $550 billion in crucial climate investments immediately. The measure was approved by the House last fall. These investments are projected to cut United States carbon pollution in half by 2030 and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

“We can end our overreliance on foreign fossil fuels, drive down harmful climate emissions, and lower energy costs for families by investing in clean energy. In the Senate, this is our ‘do or die’ moment to pass legislation that speeds up our transition to a clean energy future and strengthens our national security,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “Now is our time to get it done. Every week that passes without action, Americans face real costs in dollars, livelihoods lost, and missed opportunities. The future of our national security and planet is at stake.”

Ukraine is defending their democracy against an autocrat who funds his war machine largely with fossil fuel profits. Putin’s war has created an international humanitarian crisis of epic proportions as more than 5 million refugees have fled and an estimated 2,224 innocent civilians have been killed. The last time a mass migration occurred in Europe nationalism grew exponentially — which created security threats that threatened democratic nations.

“As long as we rely on fossil fuels, our economy and our families’ pocketbooks will be held hostage to the whims of dictators like Putin,” said Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “America will be truly energy independent only when we use home grown alternative, sustainable energy which isn’t subject to price spikes due to uncertainty and chaos. It’s an issue of national security.”

Mabus was instrumental in transitioning Navy and Marine Corp bases to get 2/3rds of their energy from renewable sources.

“Clean energy is an existential threat for dictators like Putin in the same way the climate crisis is a threat to our planet. The only way to prevent tyrannical leaders like Putin from getting the financial resources they need to create conflicts is to reduce, and eventually eliminate, our dependency on fossil fuels,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, Marine combat veteran, and President and co-founder of Elected Officials to Protect America. “The amazing thing is that renewables and clean energy can do that. They are already cheaper in 2/3rds of the world. It’s an obvious step that we can do to improve our national security and protect our planet.”

Photo left to right: Supervisor Mike Turner Loudoun County, (VA) retired Air Force colonel, Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, Marine combat veteran, and President and co-founder of Elected Officials to Protect America, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The war in Ukraine highlights the urgency to become energy independent and secure and to help other nations achieve those goals. We have the technology and solutions to make it happen. By doing so we could circumvent the next war rooted in fossil fuel dependency.

500 lawmakers nationwide in a collective action for energy security have signed an EOPA National Climate Emergency Letter, including 44 veterans who are elected officials—all supporting Congress and the President to enact a National Climate Emergency Plan, declare a climate emergency, and invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to scale up renewable energy development. 

“Russia has been encouraged in its aggression and has gained immeasurable leverage over all EU nations and their collective security decision-making precisely and specifically because the EU nations are so dependent upon Russian fossil fuels,” said Supervisor Mike Turner Loudoun County, (VA) retired Air Force colonel, EOPA National Leadership Council. The Ukraine crisis and its threat to global peace and security has brought into specific relief the immediate urgency for all free nations to move to a sustainable energy economy. The technology is there. People want clean energy solutions. My community is ready for the change. We have to have the will, like a mission in the military, to shift over to a new way of thinking and get the job done at the federal level.”

Germany alone relies on Russian gas by 55 percent, but could transition away from their fossil fuel dependency with heat pumps by winter. America could help that process by accelerating our manufacturing of clean energy solutions with the DPA.

Heat pumps, solar-panels, offshore wind turbines, green hydrogen, and electric vehicles are just some of the lasting scalable solutions that exist now.

President Biden in March invoked the Defense Production Act to compel mining and processing for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage facilities. The DPA is invoked through executive order, not Congress, and would provide assurances for companies so when they scale up production, they’ll know there are customers to buy the products.