Monday, May 30, 2022

Guest Essay: Energy Independence Is A National Security Issue

By Lt. General Richard Zilmer, USMC (Ret.), Pennsylvania Native

This guest essay, which first appeared on on May 30, 2018, is relevant today and was prophetic--

It is undeniable that the global energy landscape is changing. Burgeoning populations, together with rising affluence, are increasing the world's overall demand for energy and shifting major demand centers.
Without innovative and more sustainable alternatives, the growing energy demand will be met by fossil fuels, empowering major fossil fuel exporting countries such as Russia and Iran.

This presents national security challenges for the United States. How we choose to participate over the next decade in the global energy marketplace will have a significant impact on diplomacy, economics, and the military.

As a Lieutenant General with over 36 years of commissioned service in the United States Marine Corps, I understand that these national security interests cannot be sacrificed for our energy needs.

As a Pennsylvanian, with great interest in solving both our security and energy challenges here at home, I know that the Commonwealth's status as an energy leader gives us all a significant role in the debate.

The United States has a lot to gain from technological advancements in energy methods that help us to lessen our reliance on fossil fuels from countries hostile to our national interests.

As a member of the CNA Military Advisory Board (MAB), an organization committed to national security solutions, I am a strong proponent of advanced energy systems.

Advanced energy is the full suite of systems including new means of power generation, distribution, storage, and efficiency.

These advanced energy systems focus on renewable energy methods such as wind, solar, biomass, and other innovative home-grown technologies. 

These domestic technologies can reduce our over-reliance on limited fuels like oil and petroleum, helping to relieve some of the pressures and threats associated with unstable regimes that produce fossil fuels.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Pittsburgh and engage with individuals that are striving to see Pennsylvania adopt an advanced energy policy.

I met with residents from diverse backgrounds and careers, from small business owners to tech entrepreneurs and faith advocates. 

Many of these individuals were leaders in a new organization, the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum.

As conservatives who agree that advanced energy is good for the land, the economy, and national security, they are helping to advance renewable energy and conservation solutions for a brighter future.

During my time in Pittsburgh, I visited places like the Energy Innovation Center, WindStax, and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

These companies are all focused on renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy - for the simple reasons that renewable energy is not only better for the environment than traditional sources, but is better for the security of our nation, and increasingly a better choice economically.

Collectively, we need to evaluate the future of our energy landscape. We need to determine what our needs will be, and what sources will be used to satisfy them.

My visit to Pittsburgh gives me hope, as a newly assembled group of committed conservatives and leaders in industry are truly making a difference to depoliticize the energy debate and set forth commonsense solutions that are good for our economy, environment, and national security.

With bipartisan support for advanced energy, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Lt. General Richard Zilmer, USMC (Ret.), is a Pennsylvania native and member of the CNA Military Advisory Board.

[Posted: May 30, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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