February 03, 2012

Veterans Call on Congressman Coffman to Support Proven Clean Energy Jobs, American Security, Instead of Jobs Dependent on Unproven Oil Shale

DENVER - In response to his vote in committee to support HR 3408, which would give away 2 million acres of public lands in Colorado and other Western states for oil shale speculation, the nonprofit Vet Voice Foundation today called on U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) to instead support energy policies that have already been proven to create American jobs, and will help protect America.

"Veterans don't want jobs on-spec," said Brian Esquibel of the Vet Voice Foundation, a 22-and-a-half year veteran with six deployments during Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), who lives in Rep. Coffman's district.  "If Rep. Coffman is serious about his concerns for veterans, he should fight to help get us more clean enery jobs, which would increase the number of clean energy jobs here in Colorado and across the West."

"Further, it is absolutely essential that we get serious about developing non-oil-based sources of energy," he added.  "Every day that we don't, we will be directly and indirectly funding regimes hostile to the United States, no matter how much domestic oil we produce."

On Wednesday, HR 3408 was voted on and approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee; the bill now awaits action by the full House. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), would open up more than 2 million acres of public lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming for speculative oil shale development and mandate commercial leasing on 125,000 acres of public lands by 2016.

The U.S. oil industry has said that it will be at least until 2020 before they know whether commercial oil shale is even possible. In contrast, a 2011 report by the Brookings Institution found that 51,036 Coloradans are already employed in clean energy industries and production such as wind turbines and solar photovoltaics.

Meanwhile, studies have shown that America's dependence on oil drives up world prices, benefitting our enemies.  Even though the United States buys no oil from Iran, for example, every time the price of oil goes up a dollar, Iran gets $1.5 billion richer.

The recent Colorado College poll found that two-thirds of Colorado voters want to reduce America's need for coal, oil and gas by expanding use of clean, renewable energy -- which they see as a local job creator; the same percentage of voters do not want corporate profit and development of public lands to limit public access.

West-wide, among households with active or retired members of the military, approximately 6 in 10 cited the impact of oil and gas drilling on their state's land, air and water as a serious problem.


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