March 22, 2022

By Ramona du Houx

Elected Officials to Protect America, (EOPA), an organization of thousands of elected officials, during a press conference on World Water Day, made the case that fossil fuel reliance represents a security threat and a clear and present danger. Elected officials across America, who are also veterans, know this reality.

EOPA brought them together to address the urgency for President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate renewable energy production for security, and to help Ukraine and other countries wean themselves off of fossil fuels. At the press conference, EOPA veterans who are lawmakers made it clear that these actions will help Ukraine.

The press conference recorded by EOPA.

As sea levels rise, and the climate crisis worsens because the atmosphere is under siege from fossil fuel emissions, humanity must combat this clear and present danger. Nine million people die annually from breathing in the toxic particulates that fossil fuel companies produce. In an age where autocrats have grown wealthy off of oil and gas, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) landmark report found that nations are not doing enough to mitigate the climate emergency. The need to transition off of fossil fuels has never been more urgent. The war in Ukraine brings that truth home.

Europe relies on Russian fossil fuels with annual oil exports fulfilling 40 percent of demand across the continent. It’s a dependency that has created a security risk which unwittingly put a sovereign, democratic, peace-loving nation in autocrat Vladimir Putin’s crosshairs. Putin’s economic strategic leverage, Russian oil and gas, makes up 60 percent of his country’s exports and has fueled his war machine.

“Nations around the globe need to implement bold solutions to address the climate crisis for the security of the world. The DPA could be used to accelerate the production of clean energy manufacturing that will cut Putin’s finances and help alleviate the climate crisis. The influence autocratic countries hold due to their oil and gas production must end,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, Marine combat veteran, and President and co-founder of Elected Officials to Protect America. The IPCC projects climate disasters will inevitably lead to more conflicts that benefit autocratic oil nations. A global clean energy economy will increase international security with healthier, more prosperous communities.”

President Biden can deploy his executive powers to weaken the geopolitical power of fossil fuels, address the climate emergency, and prevent further mass suffering. 

“Fossil fuels represent a clear and present danger to nations that rely on them for energy. Our nation needs bold solutions to address climate change, and the pollution that is driving it, for our security and the world’s,” said Assemblyman Richard Andrede, (AZ), Air Force Veteran. “The only way to free democratic countries from the grip of autocratic oil producing nations is to ramp up the transition to a clean energy economy. The United States, through the Defense Production Act can and must.”

The DPA authorizes the president to require businesses to accept and prioritize contracts for materials deemed necessary for national defense, and allows the president to designate materials to be prohibited from price gouging and hoarding. The DPA was recently used to ramp up production of needed essentials to combat COVID 19 and to fight wildfires caused by climate change. It was made the law of the land in 1950 to help during the Korean War and subsequently the Cold War.

“The ruthless Russian invasion of Ukraine is a tragedy almost beyond comprehension, and for those of us born in the fifties, a deeply disturbing flashback to the early days of the Cold War. The human suffering is almost unimaginable. But there is an enduring lesson here we would all be well-served to learn finally and forever: 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. “Imagine how much less leverage Russia would have and how many more response options NATO nations would have if all EU nations had transitioned substantially to sustainable energy. 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.”

Oil and War –

Putin’s war has created an international humanitarian crisis of epic proportions as more than 3 million refugees have fled and thousands of innocent people have died. The last time a mass migration occurred in Europe nationalism grew exponentially — which created security threats that threatened democratic nations.

“As Mayor, I stand united with Ukraine, who is standing up for their democracy.  As an elected official and Marine veteran, I have a responsibility to keep our community safe and free of oppression. The bravery of all the elected officials and public servants in Ukraine should be applauded for their bravery to protect its democracy.,” said  Mayor Derrick R. Wood, Town of Dumfries, VA, Marine Veteran, EOPA National Leadership Council. “Because of the conflict in Ukraine and the current inflation we are experiencing in our nation, I want to offer my support to President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase a clean energy transition.  As a nation, we could rely less on fossil fuels from abroad and open up ways in which we can use all energy options to reduce the burden the average citizen is facing as a result of inflation.”

The American oil industry has a long, documented history of working extremely closely with autocrat Putin and state-run Russian oil companies. Now, the industry is trying to leverage the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to push for more drilling domestically while raising gas prices and protecting their profits. They’ve even started to make the case that greater production at home will help combat Putin’s influence on the global stage. While U.S. LNG exports may help Europe in the short term, increasing U.S. production would deepen Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and ours.

“The only way to free democratic countries from the grip of autocratic oil producing nations is to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. We have the technical know-how — now we need the political will to ensure the security of our nation and the world through a clean energy economy,” said Joel Hicks, Councilmember Borough of Carlisle, PA, Navy veteran, EOPA National Leadership Council. “We need immediate federal action to dramatically ramp up investments in solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric cars, electric heat pumps, green hydrogen and other clean-energy technologies. It’s time for us to fuel our manufacturing companies with the mandate to expand production of clean energy technologies.”

Bloomberg reported, European Union officials have been finalizing a strategy to slash the continent’s use of natural gas, in part by accelerating deployment of solar power, renewable hydrogen and energy efficiency.

There’s a reason American military leaders have been taking climate seriously for years. The Pentagon first called global warming a “threat multiplier” in 2014, later warning that the climate crisis “will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems — such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions — that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.”

Fossil fuel production increases greenhouse gas emissions and is a main cause of these climatic changes.  Some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Climate change is making that reality worse as droughts often exacerbate divisions and lead to conflict. In Afghanistan around 22.8 million people, 55 percent of the population, are experiencing high levels of acute food shortages. Severe drought has hit more than 80 percent of the country, crippling food production and forcing people from their land.

These countries will be directly effected by the war in Ukraine as crops can not be seeded this spring. The domino effect is predicted to leave millions without food from Ukraine, the “bread basket of Europe.”

The Ukrainian war jeopardizes food supplies. Ukraine and Russia are important food suppliers for low – and middle-income countries in which tens of millions of people are already food insecure. Combined, their exports were responsible for about 26 percent of global wheat in 2020.

“In 2014, the same year Russia annexed Crimea, then-North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that Russia was covertly working to undermine European and U.S. fossil fuel production,” said Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, Consensus for American Security, American Security Project U.S. Army military intelligence officer, veteran. “We have to restructure the global energy system to avoid this kind of exposure to the whims of a single man, or nation. Removing barriers to ramp up our domestic energy production will strengthen our national security. Feeding diverse clean energy sources into our grid would also insulate us from the fluctuations of fossil fuel prices and autocrats who wield their oil and gas reserves as weapons. The security of peaceful democratic nations relies, in large part, by diversifying supply and curbing greenhouse gas emissions and their dependency on fossil fuels.”

Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is being bolstered by $285m in oil payments made every day by European countries, a new analysis by the Transport & Environment (T&E) thinktank has found. Oil and gas accounts for 40 percent of the Russian federal budget. Without it, and along with the stinging sanctions, their economy would crumble.

A clean energy economy grows jobs—

Modeling released last year by the research firm Energy Innovation found that cutting U.S. emissions in half by decade’s end — which scientists say is needed to avoid truly catastrophic warming — would grow the economy by $570 billion annually by 2030, and avoid 45,000 premature deaths in the US through reduced air pollution.

While President Biden has pledged steep cuts to carbon emissions, his groundbreaking climate plans have been blocked by congressional Republicans — and two Senate Democrats. Sen. Manchin recently said at the energy conference CERAWeek, held in Houston, that he was “very reluctant to go down the path of electric vehicles.” EV’s are a key component for any nation to become fossil free independent and incentives for them are within the legislation.

“With the crisis unfolding in Ukraine, for the sake of humanity and peace, we need the president to evoke the Defense Production Act immediately. A world at peace is a prosperous one. The opportunities of a global clean energy economy are boundless,” said Christian Brock, CEO of Elected Officials to Protect America, Air Force Veteran, CA. “At home we could move forward with climate plans that have stalled in Congress and make our nation’s largest investment in a clean energy transition that would bring environmental justice to communities that have been neglected by systemic racism for far too long.”

An EOPA letter, which over 450 lawmakers signed, urges the President to go further than activating the DPA. It supports a clean energy plan and asks for a Presidential Climate Emergency Declaration under the National Emergencies Act. A declaration will communicate the urgency of the climate crisis and unlock specific statutory powers.

Since the passage of the National Emergencies Act in 1976, every president has used its emergency powers and declared at least one national emergency.

DECLARING A NATIONAL EMERGENCY WOULD ALLOW THE PRESIDENT TO:

  • Control oil and gas exports,
  • Stop offshore oil and gas drilling,
  • Restrict international fossil fuel investment and
  • Rapidly manufacture and distribute renewable energy systems.

Please click HERE for the Elected Officials to Protect America letter.

Participants at the EOPA press conference on how fossil fuel reliance represents a security threat and a clear and present danger