Inhofe blasts Panetta for linking climate change, national security

Source: Annie Snider, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s remarks this week linking climate change and U.S. oil dependence with national security today drew a sharp rebuke from Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe.

“Secretary Panetta has an important job and doesn’t need to waste his time trying to perpetrate President Obama’s global warming fantasies or his ongoing war on affordable energy,” Inhofe said in a news release. “He has a real war to win.”

Speaking at an Environmental Defense Fund reception Wednesday night, Panetta said environmental threats can become security threats and signaled his interest in military development and implementation of alternative-energy technologies (Greenwire, May 3).

The Defense Department’s investments in renewable energy, especially biofuels, have drawn fire from Republicans angry about $487 billion in cuts scheduled for the department over the next 10 years (Greenwire, Feb. 23). The Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget blueprint includes $1 billion for energy conservation measures, about 9 percent of which would go to renewable energy projects.

“The real threats to national security are policies that force DOD to expend increasing amounts of its scarce resources on extremely expensive alternative energy, when President Obama has gutted the defense budget,” said Inhofe, who serves as both ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and as senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Inhofe promised to step up congressional oversight of the military’s energy programs.