According to a new report on financial waste in the Department of Defense, the Pentagon initiated more renewable energy projects in 2010 – the year measured – than any other federal agency, including the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Those findings are detailed in a report (embedded below) released Thursday by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) highlighting Defense programs that are wasteful, duplicative, or superfluous.
The federal government launched 679 renewable energy initiatives in 2010 including those at the Department of Energy. The Department of Defense accounted for 116 initiatives,
more than any other department or agency. By contrast, DOE started less than 100.
The report also includes this chart:
Coburn notes that while the GAO study that forms the basis of those numbers did not determine whether the projects in question were “wasteful or redundant,”
there is a lack of information about the projects. “The wide range of federal activities related to renewable energy and the recent increase in these efforts have raised congressional concerns about the number of agencies implementing such activities, as well as the roles of agencies responsible for regulating and providing funding to various segments of the renewable energy industry,” according to GAO.
“There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which federal agencies are implementing renewable energy-related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing. In light of efforts to balance the federal budget and target spending on activities that will most effectively meet national needs, the lack of available information on agencies’ renewable energy initiatives has further raised congressional concerns about the ability to identify whether efforts are fragmented, duplicative, or operating at cross-purposes.”
Coburn concludes that DoD “should be forced to explain in detail how these programs should not be primarily funded and administered by the Department of Energy.”
The military’s “green” push, noted Heritage’s Jack Spencer in a 2011 report on the effort, “needlessly bleeds scarce resources away from core missions to advance a political agenda is untenable.”
The Pentagon and the environmental movement seem to have found common cause by linking America’s national security to the basic tenets of the President’s green agenda. The DOD bureaucracy benefits by securing resources to engage in climate change and alternative energy research, and the green movement benefits by keeping its agenda alive. Unfortunately, there are real costs for national security, energy technology, the taxpayer, and the American consumer.
Read Coburn’s full report: