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Veterans on a Mission: Pass a Strong Climate Bill

Rob Perks

Posted October 15, 2009

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Congress is currently debating legislation that would finally begin to address climate change and spark a paradigm shift toward clean energy for our nation.  There are lots of good reasons to pass this bill: reducing global warming pollution, exerting international leadership on the issue, boosting the economy with nearly 2 million new "green" jobs, breaking our addiction to oil and other dirty fossil fuels.  One of the most important reasons for acting now has to do with bolstering our nation's security. 

This story by inside-the-Beltway publication Politico makes the point:

"[F]or nearly two years, military and intelligence experts have been issuing studies warning that climate change could put American military personnel and national security at risk.  Increasingly violent storms, pandemics, drought and large-scale refugee problems, they say, will destabilize regions and encourage terrorism.  And American dependence on foreign energy sources will only exacerbate the threats and increase the likelihood of military action."

Bottom-line: We're sending $1 billion a day overseas to buy oil; it's time to invest that money here at home.  We need comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation in order to put America back in control of our economic security, national security, and the future of our planet. 

That's a big reason why Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both military veterans, are working together to pass a climate and clean energy bill in the Senate.  (This development is a game-changer, notes my colleague Dan Lashof.)

This also explains why national security experts and military veterans of all political stripes are banding together to ensure that Congress follows through on the mission.  Right now, in fact, a squad of vets is on the road, traversing the country on a 21-state, biodiesel-fueled bus tour -- they are stopping in cities and towns all over America to explain to people how our national security is tied to tackling the climate crisis. 

Learn more about the Veterans for American Power Tour on this website, which tracks both buses as they roll through various states over the next two weeks. 

The coalition behind this campaign, which includes Operation Free, the Truman National Security Project, and VoteVets, is also promoting the cause through a radio ad blitz in several states.  The ads feature veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan calling for an "American clean energy policy" and urging Senators to be "heroes" by supporting climate legislation.  The tag-line: "It's not just a question of American energy; it's a question of American power." 

Take a moment to listen to a sample radio ad.  My NRDC colleague Rocky Kistner is actually on one of the buses and is blogging the cross-country trip. Also, keep up with the vets on the tour by checking out their regular video blogs along the way:

I'm proud that America's real heroes -- those who don the uniform of the U.S. armed services and put their lives on the line for our country -- are taking a leadership role in advancing the effort to secure clean energy and climate legislation.  As they full well know, on this important issue retreat is not an option. 


Today is Blog Action Day, the largest single social action event on the web; more than 6,900 bloggers have signed up to write about global warming.  NRDC is a partner of today's online event.

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Gordon SoderbergOct 16 2009 05:10 PM

As a veteran who spent many months baby sitting oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, and a member of Veterans Green Jobs a cosponsor of operation free, I was saying this in the 80's to my fellow ship mates. In the 90's I was learning about bio diesel, solar, wind and the real costs of fission technology. After 911 it became clear to me that we had to change the way we fuel our economy. Right after hurricane Katrina this became imperative. I began using bio diesel to power a generators, a truck, tractor, bobcats, and stump grinders and used this heavy equipment to help clear lots for people in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This was before President Obama was running for president and long before climate change was being taken seriously by the federal government. SO, if there are ney-sayers that say that veterans are being used to further the political agenda of the Obama administration, just send them my way. There have been green veterans long before there were green politicians.

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