The headline reads like something from The Onion: “U.S. Navy Paying $15 a Gallon for Green Fuel.” But it’s real enough.
It seems that, fresh from its success with Solyndra, the Obama administration is slated to spend $12 million to buy a biofuel/gasoline blend that runs $15 a gallon to power a portion of the Navy’s fleet in a demonstration project.
“We are doing this for one simple reason,” explained Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, “It makes us better fighters. Our use of fossil fuels is a very real threat to our national security and to the U.S. Navy ability to protect America and project power overseas.”
Really? As long as a fuel makes the ships, planes, and submarines go, how does using pricey biofuel mixtures improve the war fighting capacity of the Navy? Does it make the officer corps feel better about themselves as good stewards of the earth’s resources, which in turn makes them shoot straighter?
The investment will certainly brighten the day of T. J. Glauthier, a “strategic advisor” to Solazyme, one of the companies selling the environmentally correct fuel to the U.S. government. Glauthier, reports blogger J. E. Dyer, just happens to have worked on President Obama’s transition team. If the administration pattern holds, Gauthier will be paid off before the taxpayers when Solazyme files for bankruptcy.
The administration didn’t bother to offer the one rationale for investing in alternatives to fossil fuels that might have made a bit of sense: to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. It’s just as well they avoided that trap, because the mismanagement of America’s energy resources is among the greatest failures of imagination that the Obama administration has been guilty of.
The United States is an energy colossus. Just this week, the state of North Dakota announced that it had produced 488,068 barrels of oil per day in October, up 100,000 barrels from June of this year. State officials predict that by 2013/2014, North Dakota will be producing 900,000 barrels a day, putting it ahead of California and Alaska and behind only Texas (at 1.2 million barrels per day) in domestic oil production.
Though the Obama administration regards our energy wealth as a threat to the planet, the untapped resources could be a pillar of American economic resurgence. The Institute for Energy Research predicts that by tapping shale and other sources, the U.S. should be the world’s top oil and gas producer by 2020, outpacing Russia and Saudi Arabia. The development of domestic oil and gas would boost the economy, providing jobs that cannot be outsourced, as well as genuinely promoting our national security by ensuring a supply of energy that cannot be manipulated by hostile governments.